Prodigal Steps

For The Sunday Whirl: wordle #76
http://sundaywhirl.wordpress.com/

Prodigal Steps

Eyes dazed by bright sunlight,
she steps into shadowy narthex.
Immediately assaulted by scent
of incense: ancient symbol of prayers
rising from centuries of countless
believers.

Watches as fingertips reach
to dip into holy water at font,
unconsciously ruled by eight years
of daily parochial-school training.
With darting hummingbird’s grace,
hand rises to skim forehead, middle
of chest, left shoulder then right,
ending with almost tender kiss
at lips.

Slips silently into empty pew,
after abbreviated genuflection.
Breathing slows as she rests,
leaning back against warm
polished wood. Fingers softly
glide across worn leather flaps
of oft used hymnal.

Thoughts scurry through decades
of questions lacking answers,
and answers that only beg
more questions.

All that remains is fear
of not being heard.

There is no room for ambivalence.

as we forgive those
who trespass against us

And so it begins…

Elizabeth Crawford  9/30/12

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About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here: http://1sojournal.wordpress.com/ https://soulsmusic.wordpress.com/ http://claudetteellinger.wordpress.com/
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21 Responses to Prodigal Steps

  1. vivinfrance says:

    We went in the same direction – almost inevitable, given the wordle words – uncannily echoing each other. I love yours, and learned a new word – I had to look up narthex.

    Viv, while writing it, the ward narthex jumped into my head. I’d never used it before, but was sure it was correct. Asked my daughter to read the piece and she immediately jumped on the word, saying I had used it incorrectly. Then looked it up in the dictionary to find I had both spelling and definition correct. LOl, always fun when that happens,

    Elizabeth

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  2. peggygoetz says:

    You really wove the wordle words in smoothly here. These words seemed to take many of us to similar places but I have enjoyed each unique view.

    Peggy, sometimes think the words already know where to weave themselves. As I read through some of the responses today, I felt a bit like I was attending a Sunday meeting. Each poet added a bit of flavor and his/her own personal sense. It was invigorating. Thanks for stopping in,

    Elizabeth

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  3. And so it begins…. I agree with Viv, the words could have only led us in once direction but, I am enjoying the variety of ways in which we use them
    A lovely read Elizabeth.

    Daydreamer, I admired those few who found a way around that direction. What I liked about the rest was the personal twist they put on it, which only added to the overall richness of the experience. Glad you enjoyed,

    Elizabeth

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  4. Laurie Kolp says:

    You have captured a precious moment with emotion and sensitivity.

    http://lkkolp.wordpress.com/2012/09/29/high-school-football/

    Thank you Laurie, I wasn’t sure if I should post it. Glad that I did,

    Elizabeth

    Like

  5. anl4 says:

    I like what you did…beautiful to read.

    Amazing how rich and clear the memories remain. Thanks, my friend,

    Elizabeth

    Like

  6. Marianne says:

    You have captured this moment in time perfectly, Elizabeth. I have made many visits in similar fashion. A lovely poem!

    Some memories, no matter how old, never lose they vividness, Marianne. Glad you could relate,

    Elizabeth

    Like

  7. margo roby says:

    During the reading, I found myself nodding my head. The description is so familiar because it mirrors what I did as a child. I find the parallel interesting as you are describing an older woman. I felt such familiarity with her. The poem, and this will sound odd, is almost cosy.

    margo

    I wonder Margo, if some of us ever lose that element of child-like awe. Perhaps that would account for your sense of the cozy. The woman in the poem is returning after a long long time away. Hence the Prodigal in the title, and the beginning at the end. But, it is all based in childhood memory, obviously clear and detailed. Thanks for your comments,

    Elizabeth

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  8. This poem reminds me of those quiet mornings in my childhood, the smell of incense, the lovely roll of the Latin language, the mystique…….you took me back, kiddo.

    My words seem to breathe more often in memory, my friend. Think that’s a sign of something, just can’t remember what, lol,
    Thanks as always,

    Elizabeth

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  9. brenda w says:

    Elizabeth, this is gorgeous, lush, and meditative. From the comments, it appears as if your work brought about reflection on many fond childhood memories. Kudos, my friend! Brava!

    Gorgeous? Lush? And meditative, oh my, Brenda. There is no end to these paths down which you lead us. Thank you,

    Elizabeth

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  10. Mary says:

    Yes, there are always those questions that are unanswered, aren’t there? And answers that lead to more questions, and so the cycle goes. I guess at some point one just has to say the answer is FAITH. I like the ending, Elizabeth, the forgiving…..and the beginning…again.

    Mary, it is written that to be forgiven, one must first learn to forgive. Oh, the questions in that one, yes? Thanks for understanding my friend,

    Elizabeth

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  11. Mr. Walker says:

    Elizabeth, I love the way this poem moves. Following the woman in her motions, as she moves deeper into the church, from the narthex to a pew, and from action to thought, questioning. And then ending with a beginning. It’s just lovely, a delightful read. Thank you.

    Richard

    Thank you, Richard for your response today. It had my thoughts spinning, seeking, and questioning. Now that is a lot of movement, yes?

    Elizabeth

    Like

  12. JulesPaige says:

    There is something calming about empty houses of worship. The rituals, forms that are familiar, yet different in each one. I imagine a variety of people in different faiths attending to morning prayer within the graceful boundaries of their own routines.

    Thanks for your visit. I enjoy how the wordles allow us to travel similar paths yet reach similar conclusions.

    Jules, today’s responses seemed like an open air discussion, each one uniquely personal, yet reaching out to touch and connect with all the others. One fantastic experience,

    Elizabeth

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  13. I love this: “All that remains is fear
    of not being heard.” … And your last line.

    Flipside, when I began writing this, I wasn’t sure where it might go. I had hopes, but then it got even better. Thanks for reading and commenting,

    Elizabeth

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  14. PJF Sayers says:

    Woohoo! “genuflection”, I love that word and this poem, Elizabeth.

    Pamela

    Oh Pamela, I wasn’t sure about that word, but the image was so strong, years of watching my Mother move to a pew, genuflect and then move to kneel or sit. It had to go in there, so it did. Glad you like it,

    Elizabeth

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  15. Irene says:

    I like the ending which is the emotional core of the poem.

    Irene, thank you for understanding that.

    Elizabeth

    Like

  16. ingerma says:

    “All that remains is fear of not being heard.” – can be such a deep fear.

    Deep and destructive because it can cripple to the point of mute silence. Thanks for hearing it,

    Elizabeth

    Like

  17. Misky says:

    A wonderful poem with a strong ending. Loved it!

    http://miskmask.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/empty-clouds/

    Glad you enjoyed Misky, I liked your piece on ambivalence,

    Elizabeth

    Like

  18. Elizabeth, you portrayed the unconscious thoughts and little gestures that come to us while praying in a very elegant manner. The lines about the questions left unanswered and the answers generating even more questions resonated within me. This is how I have always felt about my faith: a wellspring of mysteries. There is no room for ambivalence once you’ve found true faith, but the search itself is full of it. A truly lovely read.

    Andra, thank you for your careful reading and very generous words,

    Elizabeth

    Like

  19. Excellent poem! You are such a great poet!!

    ambivalence

    Oh gautami, you make me gasp a bit. Thank you my friend of very generous words. I think it might be time for a new kudo box.

    Elizabeth

    Like

  20. tmhHoover says:

    Despite the heavy hand of my Roman Catholic upbringing, I am drawn into the familiar,space that you have so accurately described. Every word- from the dazed eyes to the the fear of not being heard. But faith lives- we are prodigal beings always returning. Wonderful write.

    Terri, ah yes, that heavy hannded upbringing, remember it well. But also remember that it was there that the questions began and I became a seeker. And returning means completing the circle. Thanks so much for your visit and thoughtful comments,

    Elizabeth

    Like

  21. This poem drew me into mentally revisiting Church visits and could feel myself as the speaker performing the physical motions (genuflection, Sign of the Cross) and then the poem drawing me into the idea/matter of Faith and doubt for ‘All that remains is fear of not being heard.’ That question of faith so well spoken. Ending is powerful reminder of core of faith. Thank you for this poem.

    Like

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