living poetry

Patricia Hampl writes:  Poetry isn’t arranged in lines to look funny; it’s set in lines to make you stop-to make sure you put silence, which has its own reality, between each line. Contemplatives, in that respect, live poetry. I don’t mean that in a romantic way; they have literally arranged their life in a pattern that exists between expression and silence. It’s the silence that lets the reality come in.

I, who live by words, am wordless when
I try my words in prayer. All language turns
To silence. Prayer will take my words and then
Reveal their emptiness. The stilled voice learns
To hold its peace, to listen with the heart
To silence that is joy, is adoration.
The self is shattered, all words torn apart
In this strange patterned time of contemplation
That, in time, breaks time, breaks words, breaks me, 
And then, in silence, leaves me healed and mended. 
I leave, returned to language, for I see
Through words, even when all words are ended. 
    I, who live by words, am wordless when 
    I turn me to the Word to pray. Amen.
~ Madeleine L’Engle

Sweet hour of prayer!  Sweet hour of prayer!
That calls me from a world of care,
And bids me at my Father’s throne
Make all my wants and wishes known.
In seasons of distress and grief,
My soul has often found relief
And oft escaped the tempter’s snare
By thy return, sweet hour of prayer!

Sweet hour of prayer! Sweet hour of prayer!
Thy wings shall my petition bear
To Him whose truth and faithfulness
Engage the waiting soul to bless.
And since He bids me seek His face,
Believe His Word and trust His grace,
I’ll cast on Him my every care,
And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!
~ W. Walford

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