Easter is a moveable feast. It arrives late this year, so March includes almost the entirety of Lent; a word that comes to us from the Old English lencten which is also related to ‘spring’. It is a season of change and reflection, but also the optimism of new life.

This year the readers of Literary Life will be joined by our friend Malcolm Guite as we read and discuss his beautiful book The Word in the Wilderness: A Poem a Day for Lent and Easter.

He reminds us in the introduction that

Lent is a time to reorient ourselves, clarify our minds, slow down, recover from distraction and focus on the values of God’s kingdom. Poetry, with its power to awaken the mind, is an ideal companion for such a time. This collection enables us to turn aside from everyday routine and experience moments of transfigured vision as we journey through the desert landscape of Lent and find refreshment along the way.

I hope you will join us, along with our other friends Dante, John Donne, George Herbert, Seamus Heaney, Rowan Williams, and others.  With Eliot perhaps we can ‘Redeem the unread vision of the higher dream’.

Habakkuk 2:3

For still the vision awaits its appointed time;
it hastens to the end—it will not lie.
If it seems slow, wait for it;
it will surely come; it will not delay.

How I Talk To God

Coffee in one hand
leaning in to share, listen:
How I talk to God.

“Momma, you’re special.”
Three-year-old touches my cheek.
How God talks to me.

While driving I make
lists: done, do, hope, love, hate, try.
How I talk to God.

Above the highway
hawk: high, alone, free, focused.
How God talks to me.

Rash, impetuous
chatter, followed by silence:
How I talk to God.

First, second, third, fourth
chance to hear, then another:
How God talks to me.

Fetal position
under flannel sheets, weeping
How I talk to God.

Moonlight on pillow
tending to my open wounds
How God talks to me.

Pulling from my heap
of words, the ones that mean yes:
How I talk to God.

Infinite connects
with finite, without words:
How God talks to me.

How I Talk To God by Kelly Belmonte


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Prayer/Walk

A hidden path that starts at a dead end,
Old ways, renewed by walking with a friend,
And crossing places taken hand in hand,

The passages where nothing need be said,
With bruised and scented sweetness underfoot
And unexpected birdsong overhead,

The sleeping life beneath a dark-mouthed burrow,
The rooted secrets rustling in a hedgerow,
The land’s long memory in ridge and furrow,

A track once beaten and now overgrown
With complex textures, every kind of green,
Land- and cloud-scape melting into one,

The rich meandering of streams at play,
A setting out to find oneself astray,
And coming home at dusk a different way.

Prayer/Walk by Malcolm Guite


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Homecoming

Two rivers deepening into one;
less said, more meant; a field of corn
adjusting to harvest; a battle won
by yielding; days emptied to their brim;
an autumn; a wedding; a logarithm;
self-evidence earned, a coming home
to something brand new but always known;
not doing, but being – a single noun;
now in infinity; a fortune found
in all that’s disposable; not out there, but in,
the ceremonials of light in the rain;
the power of being nothing, but sane.

Homecoming by Gwyneth Lewis


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