My Poetry Book Is Now Available!

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I’m so happy I can share my work with you in a new way! My book of poetry, 59 Prayers, is now available in print. 59 Prayers is a collection of poems that blossomed from the union of my writing life and my spiritual life. It’s not a book of religion or sanctioned prayer, but an exploration of love, doubt, suffering, and joy.

As some of you may know, I’ve been on a long healing journey. During that time, when so much stillness and solitude were required, poetry became a lifeline. The writing process enabled me to transform negative energy and amplify positive energy. I chose to examine ordinary events through the slow lens of poetry. I created poems that made me feel better. And I have always hoped that the poems would make you feel better, too.

59 Prayers includes some poems that have appeared on this blog as well as other poems I’ve written from the same sea of experience. Some of the poems in 59 Prayers come from a place of struggle or questioning, others from a sense of communion or divine presence. Some of the poems offer blessing for special occasions or life events, such as marriage or interviewing for a job. Others seek to find meaning and beauty in an imperfect world. It’s my hope that you will find the book to be an experience of blessing and healing.

Thank you for following my blog and supporting my work. The world needs more love, and this is one way I’ve chosen to contribute.

Blessings,

Cheryl

 

59 Prayers is available for purchase on Amazon.

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The Angel of Instead

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Angel of Instead

When you ask for help
a boulder may roll
down into your path

tempting you to curse it
and throw away your faith in prayers
but if you crouch low

you may discover
not exactly a boulder
but the Angel of Instead

tipping you off to the side,
into the unmapped berry-wild,
the unconsidered solution.

 
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an angel and a dog: an interim blessing

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I’ve been in a creative cocoon, a lot going on inside, but not much to see from the outside. While hoping for a poem to emerge, I got this spontaneous sketch instead. It came from nowhere, like a blessing, and it made me smile.  I started with an arc which became the angel’s face, and I finished with a dog. It’s a simple drawing, but I hope you like it. And maybe you’ll be inspired to set your own pen down on a piece of spare paper and without thought or plan, follow the ink until the lines create a message and blessing just for yourself.

Need a friend?

purple-lotus

To Offer Friendship

Today I will be a friend.
I will reach out to one person
and invite them into my heart.
I will open the gate and let them
enter as they wish, at their own pace,
or even not at all, if that’s their choice.
I will offer love and the space
of stillness and curiosity.
I will bless their life with secret words.
If they harm me or never come back,
I will still have been a friend
and I will be ready for my next chance
to offer belonging.

Mary and Jesus in Ocean Grove - 2

Monday Morning Mary: Remain in Love

Mary and Jesus in Ocean Grove - 2

In These Times

You have turned to me
in disbelief, shaken
as the earth cracks
like bone
under the plan and force
of stricken minds.

How, you ask,
can this continue to happen?
How, you wonder,
can your tiny prayer matter?

I tell you now
that it does.
That all the tiny prayers
of the world
add up
like the grains of sand
that line the oceans.

Imagine yourself
on the shore of Holy Presence.
Release the answers
you have disguised as prayer.
Receive the messages of love
that arrive on soft waves.

Do not neglect such imagining.
It is prayer.

Walk now, back into your
day which is no longer ordinary,
and be a sanctuary.
Serve love.
Welcome love.
Remain in love.

 

Mary and Jesus in Ocean Grove

Photos taken by my sister, Christine. If you zoom in on the first one, you can see rain streaming like tears down Mother Mary’s face.

Monday Morning Mary: To Be Moved

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To Be Moved

When you make time
to travel to the cherry blossoms,
may you also clear your eyes

so that when you arrive
under the canopy of white lace,
the delicate spirit of each tiny flower
will have a direct path to your heart.

In this holy instant,
when your heart becomes a vase
as large as your being,
you will receive more beauty
than you thought possible.

Joy will rise inside you,
pure as water,
until you contain nothing else,

until you are fully moved,
and from your eyes
tears blossom.
Mary - Mariandale

 

Saturday the weather was gloomy, and the sky was as white as the blossoms, except for one brief patch of blue. But the thousands of cherry blossom trees at Branch Brook Park in Newark, NJ were at the peak of bloom. The overcast skies in some ways made the blossoms appear all the more magical.

More scenes from Branch Brook Park, Newark NJ…

 

Irish Ancestor

Hudson sunset

Irish Ancestor

Even though your name is lost to me,
you appear in my mind from nowhere
like the sum of two easy numbers.

Even though I know nothing
of your village, your prayers, the stories
of your hearth and your departure,

behind my eyes,
your struggles gather
beside the pool of dreams.

You appear with your tangerine curls
half pinned up, half fallen
onto the shoulder of worn cloth.

You tell me
that the hammock of grief I sometimes feel myself fall into
runs deeper than the wounds of this lifetime.

You say I have carried your pain, like a stone,
without knowing—we all have,
one after the other,

from one side of the River Shannon
across streams and lochs and the great
Atlantic, into the hungry mouth of the Hudson.

You want me to drop it now,
this sorrow,
because enough is enough.

The gift you meant to give
was courage,
and however pale it seems to me

you have woven it securely in my aura,
a blessing to accompany me across the wild waters,
a light from you to those who follow.

Monday Morning Mary: Mercy

Mary 2 - Mariandale

Mercy

Mercy comes to me as a blanket
the color of pearls
and ferns
soft
with enough stretch
to cover the awkward angles of
misguided thought

delivered with uncanny timing
not mine
by four angels
who let the blanket
drift down like snow
upon my naked head

their opal wings
say something
I can almost hear

under this mercy
which I do not deserve,
because that is the point
of mercy,
I wonder, what have I learned,
and how am I to share
the pearls
 

 

Mary - Mariandale

Sunset on the Hudson River.

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Photos in this post were taken on the grounds of Mariandale Retreat and Conference Center, New York.

12 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 11, Healing

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12 Things I Am Grateful For This Year
Day 11:  Healing

May you be healed.
May your body find balance.
May your energy return.
May whatever you carry that is not truly yours dissolve.
May health blossom in all the cleared spaces.
May you be peaceful and patient
while Divine Medicine and all its tributaries
rise and flush,
clear and nourish,
restore and heal
every system, cell, and space,
physical and infinite.
May your path today be light.

~~~

Mary at Capuchin

Our Lady of Grace, with an orb of light in the lower right,
as if it is a blessing that has just fallen from her hand