Friday, April 26, 2013

New Poem: The Incense Rises and Gathers

Celebrating National Poetry Month

I went back to my notebook this week. I mentioned previously that I have a notebook in which I will jot down ideas to come back to later. Usually it's an idea for a poem, sometimes it's an idea for an essay.  I’ve been using National Poetry Month as an impetus to go back to those notes and work on those ideas that have been lying dormant on the page.  I clearly remember the Sunday almost a year ago when I came home and wrote “The incense rises and gathers” at the top of the page. My project this week has been to fill out the rest of the page, using that one phrase as the launching point, attempting to capture what I felt on that day.

The Incense Rises and Gathers

There comes a time
When the heart is drawn
To that sacred space
Where all thoughts and pretensions
Fall away like yesterday’s garments.

To a place made sacred
By the gathering of pilgrims over time
Who come with purpose and by habit
Bringing their notions and desires.
Some come with ideas,
Some come with agendas,
But the space is made holy
By the unadorned longing
Of many souls
On their separate journeys.
Their paths converge
Into sacred space.

Candles, bells,
Hymns and ritual words
Mark the paths of past souls.
Yet in that sacred moment
Even these trappings fall away.

The incense rises and gathers
Forming a misty tier –
Suspended in the moment
Yet constantly moving and changing.
In that moment
The sacred space unfolds.
No sound
No thought
No movement
Only the incense rising and gathering.
A brief rest from all endeavor
Welcoming the soul,
Giving meaning to the music,
Giving purpose to the work that follows.

In a brief moment of quiet
With all souls gathered  
The sacred space opens,
Potent as that rest in Handel’s Messiah.
A silent moment before the Hallelujah.

                               ~ Charles Kinnaird


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