The Rev. Casey dunsworth

serves as Associate Campus Pastor to the Belfry, the Lutheran-Episcopal Campus Ministry to UC Davis

and as Program Director for LEVN, the Lutheran Episcopal Volunteer Network.

Thanks, Rachel (and Mary Oliver).

The best thing I've learned from my new friend Rachel is to love the poetry of Mary Oliver. I spent the better part of this morning reading a bunch of poetry and meditation-related things online (for Jonathan's winter retreat) and kept returning to her. I posted "Wild Geese" a while back (that I'd discovered on Maria's facebook) and then we used "The Swan" in meditation last semester. So here's "The Swan" and "On Praying" -- poems I'm definitely bringing on this retreat.

On praying
It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just

pay attention, then patch
a few words together and don’t try

to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway
into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.

The Swan
Did you too see it, drifting, all night, on the black river?

Did you see it in the morning, rising into the silvery air
An armful of white blossoms,

A perfect commotion of silk and linen as it leaned

into the bondage of its wings; a snowbank, a bank of lilies,
Biting the air with its black beak?

Did you hear it, fluting and whistling
A shrill dark music - like the rain pelting the trees - like a waterfall

Knifing down the black ledges?

And did you see it, finally, just under the clouds -
A white cross Streaming across the sky, its feet

Like black leaves, its wings
Like the stretching light of the river?

And did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything?

And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for?

And have you changed your life?

We'll take it from here.

Starting off the new year with a post not really about the new year.