Archive for the ‘Worship’ Category

Worship: issue summary

January 25, 2012 4 comments

by Fiona Robyn and Kaspalita Thompson

We don’t remember when we first talked about guest editing an issue of qarrtsiluni — we guess it must have been back in the spring of last year. We threw around a whole bunch of ideas before settling on Worship as the theme, and it feels like we have lived closely with it since then.

We do have a sense that everyone is involved in some act of worship, although we don’t always use that word to describe those acts. We were curious to see what people made of the theme.

We expected more people to come from a secular position than did in the end, or perhaps we are reading something spiritual into the many poems we got in praise of small things and in praise of the natural world. We did glory in nature in this issue. Many of the poems had a sense of reaching beyond nature to something more ineffable, whatever that might be.

We particularly enjoyed the many pieces of work that took something worldly and showed us something sacred about them.

The standard of submissions was overwhelming high, and the number of submissions were high as well. Right from the start we recognised how subjective a process editing is, and we also recognised that not everything that was good was going to make it into the issue (unless we wanted to take a whole year’s worth of posts).

Looking back on how we did choose the pieces in the issue, we can see that we were looking for something which brought form and spirit together. Some of the writing we received was beautifully crafted but felt in some way hollow. Some of the poems were full of heart, but clumsily executed. (There weren’t many of these, as it happens.) We were looking for writing that was both full of something and beautifully written. We think the writing and the images included in the issue do just this.

As well as the written word and the striking images, we also included one of each of another form, and we want to give them a special mention here. The first is James Brush’s video poem “While Sitting in Church.” The combination of words images and sound lifted the poem to something greater than just words on the page. The second is “The Key of Joy,” a piece of music by Caitlin M. Daphtary (music), Zackary Sholem Berger (lyrics), and Rachel Dudley (vocals) that we were very pleased to feature.

We’re really happy with the final issue. It’s also been wonderful to live with the poems these last few months, to have them breathed into life by the readings that each poet (and in one case, Dave) gave. Thank you so much.

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For bios of Kaspa and Fiona, see the call for submissions.

Worship: Table of Contents

January 24, 2012 Comments off

Teeth in my hands by Victor David Sandiego

Ghost Money by Jenni B. Baker

Remedies For A Long Winter by Laura E. Davis

A Morning of Orange Hands by Lawrence Wray

Hamburger Jesus by John Sherman Lathram III

Praise by Sheila Black

Beatitude by Sheila Squillante

About the Laying-On of Bricks Not Hands by Nancy Flynn

While Sitting in Church by James Brush

Doxology by Sherry Chandler

Fresh Start by Erik Svehaug

silence by Paul Bilger

Driving to Juniata by Katherine E. Young

winter escapes by Daniela Elza

Love Rondeau by Mary Peterson Johnson

Q’ran study by Michaela A. Gabriel

A Red Sky by Rosemary Starace

On a Thursday, Like Any Other Day, I Try to Take Good Care of Things by Penelope Scambly Schott

Odds and Ends by Joseph Harker

behold the minotaur by Theresa Williams

In praise of zero by Joe Hyam

The Open Bible Baptist Church Hymnal, Sword of the Lord Publishers, Murfeesboro Tennesee by Lynnel Jones

the artist’s hand by Marja-Leena Rathje

The Widow Discovers the Secret of Leona Canyon by Lenore Weiss

AKA Annie by Holly Anderson

Rest by Cynthia Cox

The Key of Joy by Caitlin M. Daphtary (music), Zackary Sholem Berger (lyrics), and Rachel Dudley (vocals)

Between Us and the Slow Fall by Susan Elbe

Dance of the Doves by Donna Coffey

“I Heard Their Wings Like the Sound of Many Waters” by Marly Youmans

“One Nation Under Me” by Brent Goodman

affirmation by Carol Beth Icard

Without Ceasing by Rachel Barenblat

The bells done rung by Shann Palmer

Notre Dame interior by Adrian Thompson

You Are Here to Receive This Prophecy by Hannah Stephenson

Calculate by Andrew Bailey

[Every green growing] by Robin Chapman

Cathedral forest by Steve Wing

grandfather on God and Richmond by Joanna Suzanne Lee

Lauds, Summer: An Antiphon by Jeanie Tomasko

Curriculum by Ellen Roberts Young

Inside Pre Rup by Elizabeth Kate Switaj

Bandit by Andrea O’Brien

Paint Him Beautiful by Tanya Bellehumeur-Allatt

Suburban Vespers by Lucia Galloway

Here For You to See by David King

The Book of Infrequent Prayer by Lois Marie Harrod

Worship by Heidi Garnett

Seeds and Stars by William Kelley Woolfitt

Homecoming Sunday by Regina Walton

The Sacred by Monica Raymond

wrestling with god by John Medeiros

About The Box On The Front Step by Rina Terry

You As White Wall by Rose Hunter

Sitting With by Dorothee Lang

Sleep by Catherine Ednie

Confession of Faith by Julie E. Bloemeke

Hypatia by Colleen Abel

The View by Nancy Scott

Where Father And Daughter Are Seekers by Uma Gowrishankar

Confession as Show and Tell by Jill Crammond

Desert Dead by Lois P. Jones

Easter on the Charles by Richard Wile

Shimmer by Kathleen Hellen

Teresian Wells: Grief and Insurrection by Kate Falvey

Worshipping at Woton’s Throne by Gordon Smith

Categories: Worship

Worshipping at Woton’s Throne

January 23, 2012 Comments off

by Gordon Smith

Worshipping at Woton's Throne by Gordon Smith
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Gordon L. Smith is a landscape photographer and poetry lover in southwest Utah. He writes, “Religious terms are often used throughout nature to describe nature’s effect on man. Any visit to Woton’s Throne in the Grand Canyon will be a sublime experience.”

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Teresian Wells: Grief and Insurrection

January 20, 2012 Comments off

by Kate Falvey

Right now, O raging Carmelite, I have
an interior shack some middle where
outposted in primeval pine and poplar.

And though I am properly joyful when
the sun slants its sunny resurrection,
I am irked, confessedly, with dust and

duty. A broom in a corner, benign,
no, positively simpering: task, task,
and splendid beatitudes, balled and caked,

creep mossily through the planks, waiting for
their thanks. A chunky mug and spoon need holy
rinsing, my single sheet arrests me with

its bid to air the bedding and the tracks
of sylvan creatures, snuffling abrasively
into my lonely stash of winter grain,

eek a cranky knee-jerk pity, half-feigned
and insufficient, charity annoyed
into remembrance of resilience, though

my predilection would be not to share.
I am aware that meanness will not do.
A chastening fling of my breakfast to

the starving starlings and the porcupines
whets my appetite for mercy and I
feast again on humble pie and crow. So

braced, robustly stuffed with an airy fibrous
faith, I chant a favorite paternostic
plea for a modicum of sense and grace.

And I fully expect — though faith is just
a filler and my contrition grumbling
and suspect — consolation, radical

redress, emolument, direction,
sympathy, a link, the wise old consort
of my will to consecrate my listless

blood and rouse me to ascendancy or
leastways to a fair goodwill, unornery
composure and exuberant completion.

Work waits neutrally and patiently but
I cannot endure it. Today, I swear,
that gruff responsibility and service —

peeling the pudgy cobwebs from the jambs,
rejoicing in the loosening of grimy
nimbus from sainted sill, sorrowing,

but scrubbing all the while with fearful gusto —
is not the thing, is not enough to tide
me into suppliance again. I’ve had it

with belief in lowly ritual, loaves
bloating with my need to savor more than
commonplace distentions, spills and simple

clutter confiding in the pressure of
my rags and busy hands, that, indeed, god’s
face is in the stupid trusty suds, that

dimensional, satisfying light wells
regally in the quiet spaces made
by all this mortifying movement, that

the business of life pulses in thrifty
obligation to retain itself, unwasting,
in exchange for nothing, not even a

blasted, circumambient, or willy nilly
faith. Not even for a failure to receive
a sacred mop and bucket when they’re lent.

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Kate Falvey’s work has appeared in a variety of print and online journals. She’s on the editorial board of the Bellevue Literary Review and is editor-in-chief of 2 Bridges Review, a new magazine published through City Tech/CUNY where she teaches.

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January 19, 2012 Comments off

by Kathleen Hellen

Between interstices of sunlight through the cross
beams, the silent-stricken trees: a gallows for a swing
I was so young—

my Sunday shoes
my pretty dress really shadows leaning in
to see the algae silky green in the bucket made of tin
Mud and scum of damselflies
and Thee:
Bottom feeder

Arc of your forbearance bent so far, the shape enjoined
the question mark. Enjoined
the hammer

to the nail driven through
to forgiveness
if it was

forgiveness. We gambled we were gods
The rise and fall of rivers at our feet. Parting
these as seas, piercing flesh
stripping garments
of the skin. Pearls

tumbled. A sac of roe for our betrayal
A rosary of shimmer
Did I dream the barbels quivered?
Did I pull from air the wine in clusters? Eat
of this, one grape. Another

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Kathleen Hellen is the author of The Girl Who Loved Mothra (Finishing Line Press, 2010). Her work has appeared in Barrow Street, Cimarron Review, the Cortland Review, The Evansville Review and the Hollins Critic, among others, and on WYPR’s “The Signal.” Awards include the Washington Square Review, James Still and Thomas Merton poetry prizes. She is senior editor for The Baltimore Review.

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Easter on the Charles

January 17, 2012 Comments off

by Richard Wile

In faded flannel shirt and frayed cargo pants,
the man curls against the Weeks Footbridge
catching the sun like a bedraggled cat.
He stands occasionally, stretches, circles,
before sinking again onto a stained sleeping bag,
while I with $10 cigar look past him
at joggers seeking endorphin blessings,
couples reverently strolling hand in hand,
parents rejoicing in their children,
and twelve ducks meditating on the river.
Above us, Harvard’s golden cathedral domes
glow in wind-driven clouds.
This morning, our priest lit a bonfire, and declared Lent over.
I held my candle, sang “Hail Thee, Festival Day”
“Now the Green Blade Riseth,” “Jesus Christ is Risen Today,”
prayed to childhood’s Casper-the-Friendly Deity,
and walked to the Charles Hotel for bacon,
eggs, hash browns, croissants, and coffee.


A black cumulus settles like a boulder
over the sun. Wind pounds wet nails into skin.
Runners and families scud away
like the ghosts of those I’ve loved and lost.
The river churns and ducks bow their heads.
My cigar’s a cold turd. I turtle into my jacket.
The man by the Weeks Footbridge
entombs himself in the mummy bag.
Earlier, I proclaimed, “The Lord is risen indeed!”
but like the women in Mark’s Gospel
who fled the tomb in terror,
I’m afraid to believe it, really,
for fear of resurrection’s undermining
my understanding of the world, my security,
even the security of an emptiness
I carry like a cross.


Meanwhile, the cloud is rolled away,
the wind shifts to the south,
and the man by the bridge rises.
From his tattered trousers, he takes bread,
breaks it, and casts it on the water.
One by one, the ducks come forth
to share his Eucharist.

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Richard Wile has published essays in numerous magazines and journals, most recently in the online magazine Solstice. He received his MFA from the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast Creative Writing Program.

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Desert Dead

January 16, 2012 8 comments

by Lois P. Jones

Desert Dead by Lois P. Jones
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Lois P. Jones’s poetry and photographs have been published in American Poetry Journal, Raven Chronicles, qarrtsiluni, and other print and on-line journals in the U.S. and abroad. Since 2008 she has hosted KPFK’s long-running radio series in Los Angeles, Poet’s Cafe (90.7 FM Pacifica Radio). Lois co-produces Moonday West and is a co-host of Moonday’s east side poetry reading at Flintridge Books. She is the Poetry Editor of Kyoto Journal and a 2009/2010 Pushcart Nominee as well as a 2010/2011 nominee for Best New Poets. In 2010 her poem “Ouija” was selected as Poem of the Year by judge Dana Goodyear.

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Confession as Show and Tell

January 13, 2012 2 comments

by Jill Crammond

after Kelli Russell Agodon

I kneel to anything these days
stop short of calling it prayer.

In cotton robes I chase fallen grapes
beneath a supermarket altar
of Vidalia onions,

place papery skins on my tongue,
choke on dusty absolution.

At the foot of the bed
(raft of abstinence)
I tuck twenty-count cotton sheets

as far beneath the mattress as they will go,
clasp my hands beneath its weight
thank the god of coil and spring-air

that it is not a king or queen
but a full—

like a sinner’s prayer
lacking real weight.

In the back seat of a car
tree trunks and branches form a sort of confessional.

I bow
take in my hands
your last hope.
I am a penitent past curfew
siphoning the last drops
of something like forgiveness.

Drink. This is what you have shed for me (not many).
That it is not grape juice
makes it all the more sweeter.

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Jill Crammond is a poet, artist and teacher funding her poetry passion by teaching children’s art and writing classes throughout New York State’s Capital Region. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Crab Creek Review, Fire on Her Tongue (Two Sylvias Press), Classifieds: An Anthology of Prose Poems, Weave and others.

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Where Father And Daughter Are Seekers

January 12, 2012 7 comments

by Uma Gowrishankar

Can you read meaning to my poetry
that father standing beside me cannot?

Father ghost writes, he runs his finger
on the scroll — write of the bees and flowers

in the temple garden he says,
of the cowherd girls who dip their fingers in butter,

write of the cloud hued Krishna… his sentence breaks off…
of the Lotus Eyed One with conch and shell;

pantomiming he blows the conch, looking ludicrous
at that early hour as ruby morning spills the sky.

He is your dark lover he says
eyes burning with passion, words I have heard

since childhood, made me fantasize even as a girl of six.
Father writes poetry too, simple straightforward stuff

meter pruned like the oleander bush in the garden,
no sparse and stark lines like other hymnists

who tease with their obscurity, he disapproves their style.
Write like me he implores: listen to the koel on the kadamba tree,

write of the sapphire throated peacock, moisture laden clouds —
write earthy poetry, he is happy with the terminology.

I struggle, I need to hallucinate to write of kisses stolen
on the banks of the dark Yamuna.

Seek him. I am mixed-up — (I am also sleepy,
writing exercises are always kept to morning and how cold it is!)

how should I worship: take vow, fast,
abstain from milk and ghee, no silk robes, no finery?

Immerse in him. How does his tongue taste?
How sweet is his breath?
In doubt, frustration, as I wrestle
with God, with father,

in aborted efforts, scored off lines,
in unwritten poetry lay my prayer to the Lord.

(For the ninth century Tamil saint poets Periyalvar and Aandaal)

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Uma Gowrishankar is a writer and artist. She blogs at

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The View

January 11, 2012 1 comment

by Nancy Scott

The View (collage) by Nancy Scott
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Nancy Scott (website) is the managing editor of U.S.1 Worksheets, the journal of the U.S.1 Poets’ Cooperative in New Jersey. She is also the author of four books of poetry. Recently, she began a foray into the art world by creating and exhibiting her collages in public venues and online.

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