brightness beckoned

Watercolor by Gretchen Del Rio

Watercolor Phoenix by (c) Gretchen Del Rio

“In the midway of this our mortal life,
I found me in a gloomy wood, astray…”
Inferno Canto 1, Durante (Dante) degli Alighieri

in a mood
he stood at the wood’s edge and thought



this pained walk
under dark skies
living on the verge
wondering if he was
the plaything of his Lord, if so
a cruel game

from somewhere brightness beckoned
on the wing beat of sudden insight ~

it’s not your memory melting in the heat of time
or your true music dissolving unsung
nor the whimsy of some capricious god
it is, perhaps, Dante’s transformative hell

no love without yearning
no compassion without pain
no charity without failure

a Phoenix, he rose from his ashes
a Moses, he fell before the flaming bush
in his found humanity, he embraced life whole

This is for Victoria Slotto’s Writers’ Fourth Wednesday writing prompt today on The Bardo Group blog. Please join us and link in your own poem. Mister Linky will remain open for seventy-two hours. We’ll visit your blog to read and comment and hope that you will visit others to encourage and support them. If you are uncomfortable using Mister Linkey, just leave the link to your piece in the comments section.

© 2013, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; Gretchen Del Rio (Gretchen Del Rio’s Art Blog), All rights reserved, posted here with Gretchen’s permission

Providence or Folly?

photo-13Lacking discretion . . .
she mistook agenda for wisdom
and suffering for sanctity.
She confused sex with intimacy
and saccharine with sincerity.
Because she endured,
she thought she was strong.
She fancied pain was her Cross
and treasured the confines
of her dark, singular world,
mistaking the fallout born of folly
for her God’s perfect plan.

© 2014 poem and photograph, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved

asleep, awake

photo-20Asleep, I swing on a pendulum
caught between
heaven and earth
ecstasy and agony
love and fear

I breath and become air
I see and become earth
I hear and become song
I feel and become river

Asleep, I search for meaning
…..Uncertain there is any

The pendulum swings
…..My left side is pain
…..My right side is joy

Awake, the pendulum stills
…..The words cease

Not breathing, I am nothing
Not seeing, I am empty
Not hearing, I am silence
Not feeling, I am peace

“Gently, gently he whispered,
‘Be quiet,
the secret cannot be spoken,
it is wrapped in silence.’”
Rumi, Whispers of the Beloved, Translated by Mafi and Azima Malita Kolin

© 2014, poem and photograph, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved

there is this …

am i dreamer
or is dream dreaming me

does it matter after all, if i am or i am not

does sun feel the heat of day
does light see its image in the dark
during rain, do fish absorb more water
and would brown bear rather be horse

does it matter after all, the curiosities

when fish and water are one
when light and dark are indistinguishable
when brown bear is neither content nor discontent
when questions cease and ideologies melt
when there is no helping and no taking
. . . there is this


This is my poem offered for Victoria C. Slotto’s Writers’ Fourth Wednesday prompt today, ekphrasis, or a rhetorical response inspired by artwork.

The artwork here is an ensō, which in Zen Buddhism is a circle that is hand-drawn in one or two unrestrained strokes. It is meant to express that moment when the mind is still, allowing for creation. It symbolizes enlightenment. I find it visually and spiritually elegant. I appreciate its spare message and the void it represents, called mu. Those of us from the Abrahamic traditions frequently misunderstand this concept and think it is negative and depressing. It’s not.

The ensō is done as a part of spiritual practice and it is a kind of meditation in the way that all creative efforts are meditation. It is a wonderful example of the Japanese aesthetic, wabi-sabi. In that spirit, I kept the poem simple and included white space in the layout.

Join us HERE at The Bardo Group blog for the details on today’s prompt and to include your own work. We’d love to see you and to have the opportunity to drop by your place and read your work.

© 2013, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved
Illustration ~ Ensõ , calligraphy by Kanjuro Shibata XX via Jordan Langeller under CC SA 3.0 unported

Ecco Panis

“Where is God? Wherever you let him in.” Rabbi Menachem Mendel Morgensztern of Kotzk, Poland 1787

In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti …

Clad in blue-gray woolly plaid, senisble shoes

and pressed, pristine white uniform-blouse

on the morning walk from the dorms to the convent

past the apple orchard, now ripe and dropping its ruby fruit,

past big-eyed, benign cows gently lowing,

walking briskly across that green pasture land and then

into the brown wood rich in conifers,

the piney detritus crunching amiably under foot,

in the single-minded pursuit of

Sister Mary Francis, the kitchen, bread.

… we therefore beseech thee, O Lord, to be appeased, and to receive this offering of our bounden duty, as also of thy whole household …

The romance was not with bread to eat,

but with yeasts to proof, batters to mix,

and dough to knead, and rest, and grow -

that beautiful, mystical living thing you have

before the baking and dying into bread, and with

the clanking music of ovens firing up, pans crashing,

the rhythmic swish and sway of our quiet community

punctuated by the clicking of Sister’s rosary as she

monitors the students and novices at bakers’ tables.

This, the sacred work of those early hours before Mass and school

and the busy business of music lessons and art classes and

the methodical ticking of Liturgical Hours until finally Compline, sleep and

the contemplation of that final sleep and dust-to-dust.

And this being Tuesday, the day to commemorate St. John the Baptist,

and the day to bake our bread for the week to come.

…order our days in thy peace; grant that we be rescued from eternal damnation and counted within the fold of thine elect. Through Christ our Lord …

The next bake day, Thursday, dedicated to the Holy Apostles.

Oh, palpable Presence, we work in the silence of Adoration.

In a quiet alcove

mixing flour, salt, and holy water,

then the fragile process of baking wafers on baking tongs,

silver antiques.

… which offering do thou, O God, vouchsafe in all things …

The wafers from my hand sanctified, bread into body.

Enigma into doubt.

…to bless, consecrate, approve, make reasonable and acceptable

that it may become for us the Body and Blood of thy most beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ…

Friday, The Cross and Theotokos, Mary

mother of both God and man, Divine and human,

a girl like me, a baker of breads.

…who the day before he suffered took bread into his holy and venerable hands, and with his eyes lifted up to heaven, unto thee, God, his almighty Father, giving thanks to thee …



A lifetime ahead to figure it out …

Ecco Panis.

Take this Bread.

… he blessed, brake, and gave to his disciples saying: Take and eat ye all of this…

from the pastures and the woods, from the sky and stream

from nature’s great cathedrals, everywhere present

… hoc est enim Corpus meum…

for this is my body


© poem ~ 2011, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved



Sacred Space in What You Are Already Doing!

Featured Image -- 40822

Jamie Dedes:

“Unmasking the God who described himself as the world …” Poets, writers, anyone with a soul, don’t miss Terri Stewart’s post on The Bardo Group blog today …

Originally posted on THE BARDO GROUP:

flickr photo by On Being  cc licensed ( BY NC SA )

flickr photo by On Being
cc licensed ( BY NC SA )

Tonight I went to see Dr. Cornel West along with two young men that I work with. We were all inspired by the passionate energy that Dr. West brings to his presentation! Tonight, he was particularly focused on the work of Abraham Joshua Heschel. He describes the arch of Heschel’s work in a way that I totally relate to the Bardo community!


Meaning, personal piety not bound by religious rules but bound by reverence or seeing the sacred worth in all be-ings. For West’s interpretation of Heschel, the pietic leads to the poetic. A poetry that is not grounded in nihilism or optimism, but grounded in hope. He said, Heschel was “not a person of optimism, but a person of hope.” And that Heschel’s hope as expressed in poetry was hope for the world–not just the Hasidic…

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