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Some people pray with their hands clasped
tightly together, as if the pressure
of squeezing their fingers together
would somehow mold their hopes into shape.
Some people pray with their palms pressed
together, fingers pointing upward
as if an invisible compass
would somehow quide them in the right direction.
Some people pray with their arms wrapped
around their bodies, clutching their humanity,
praying not out of humility
but out of fear. 
Some people pray with their hands stretched
outward, away from their true nature
as if the world owed them something.
And then,
there are those people whose hands
are works of prayer:
hands that open doors for the elderly;
hands that comfort the sick and lonely;
hands that pour love into food they prepare.
Hands that play, Patty cake, patty cake,
baker’s man.  Hands
that give birth to beauty:
in paintings, in sculptures, by writing,
by signing for the deaf.
Prayers aren’t always words –
they are works of love
best given away to others.  
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"Spacious Skies" Solitude, Indiana

“Oh beautiful for spacious skies….”

(Photo taken in Solitude, Indiana)

To receive the American Life in Poetry weekly column containing contemporary poetry, go to http://americanlifeinpoetry.org and register.

Here is their latest column, reprinted here with permission:

American Life in Poetry: Column 192

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE, 2004-2006

Class, status, privilege; despite all our talk about equality, they’re with us wherever we go. In this poem, Pat Mora, who grew up in a Spanish speaking home in El Paso, Texas, contrasts the lives of rich tourists with the less fortunate people who serve them. The titles of poems are often among the most important elements, and this one is loaded with implication.

Fences (by Pat Mora)

Mouths full of laughter,
the turistas come to the tall hotel
with suitcases full of dollars.

Every morning my brother makes
the cool beach new for them.
With a wooden board he smooths
away all footprints.

I peek through the cactus fence
and watch the women rub oil
sweeter than honey into their arms and legs
while their children jump waves
or sip drinks from long straws,
coconut white, mango yellow.

Once my little sister
ran barefoot across the hot sand
for a taste.

My mother roared like the ocean,
“No. No. It’s their beach.
It’s their beach.”

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright (c) 1991 by Pat Mora, whose most recent book of poetry is “Adobe Odes,” University of Arizona Press, 2007. Poem reprinted from “Communion,” Arte Publico Press, University of Houston, 1991, by permission of the writer and publisher. Introduction copyright (c) 2008 by The Poetry Foundation.  The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.  We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

******************************

American Life in Poetry provides newspapers and online publications with a free weekly column  featuring contemporary American poems. The sole mission of this project is to promote poetry: American Life in Poetry seeks to create a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. There are no costs for reprinting the columns; we do require that you register your publication here and that the text of the column be reproduced without alteration.

Mythical

"Mythical" (path leading to Wabash River, New Harmony, IN)

 

Mythical

                                             mystical

                                                                             our

                   souls

                                                                                                                        play

                                                       chords

                                                                                     according

                                                              to

                                                                                                                               the

                                                                       paths

                                                                                              we

                                         choose                   

                                       

Finding My True Path
“The Chosen Path” (New Harmony, Indiana)

 

Writing poetry helps me to filter emotions through a fine looking glass. 

Just as the sun, when it hits the looking glass, will burn paper,

words too can be written with fire.  The fire burns within me.

I only need to throw out watered-down perceptions

and let the poem materialize.

I’ve always loved Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poetry.  I found this video at Technorati.  Great words, visuals and sounds.  Wonderful paintings by Brenda K.I.F. set to music by Enigma.

Watch the wonderful video below.  These are VERY talented young poets… and some very powerful poems.  Thank you to PBS for showcasing them!

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/indepth_coverage/entertainment/poetry/

I have four poems that were published today in The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature. 

www.deadmule.com

Thank you to Helen Losse, Poetry Editor of The Mule, for including me in the November issue!

The Merton Institute for Contemplative Living sponsors the Merton Prize for Poetry of the Sacred.  The Poetry Judge for 2009 is Wendell Berry.  All contest entries must be postmarked by December 31, 2008.  First Prize is $500.  There will be three Honorable Mention awards of $100 each. 

Water Lilies

"Water Lilies" - Lincoln State Park, Indiana

For 2009 contest guidelines, go to http://www.mertoninstitute.org

 

Doorways

 There are times,

when we revisit places of our youth,

when doorways open

and we are allowed a look into our souls. 

Plastic Lies

It is then, 

as we grow silent

and listen to the wind, 

that we learn our true nature. 

Pears, still life

  Take our place,

feet firmly on the ground,

a seasoned pilgrim on the wheel of life.

 

(“Kentucky Homestead” Photos)

RSS Quote of the Day

  • Lucy Larcom
    "If the world seems cold to you, kindle fires to warm it."
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"Featherheart"
was chosen as
the name for
this blog
because when
I remember
to keep my
heart light as
a feather,
life is much
easier.

ReadWritePoem

Censorship

Jimmy Margulies
The Record
Jan 7, 2011
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