Resources: March 2018~Poetry/St. Bridgit of Kildare

downloadable PDF file: Women of Faith Resources March 2018

March Quotes:

“Poetry is a window onto the breath-taking diversity of humanity.” ~ Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General

“What makes you a poet is a gift for language, an ability to see into the heart of things, and an ability to deal with important unconscious material. When all these things come together, you’re a poet.” ~ Erica Jong

“You can find poetry in your everyday life, your memory, in what people say on the bus, in the news, or just what’s in your heart.” ~ Carol Anne Duffy

Featured Day: March 21 – World Poetry Day

A decision to proclaim March 21st as World Poetry Day was adopted during UNESCO’s 30th session held in Paris in 1999. UNESCO recognized the unique ability of poetry to capture the creative spirit of the human mind.

Internet sites to explore:

UNESCO World Poetry Day

UN Poetry Day

Patron of Poets:  St. Brigit of Kildare

St. Brigit (or Brigid) of Kildare is the Patron Saint of Poets. She lived from 451 to 525 in Ireland, knew St. Patrick, and founded a convent and two monastic institutions. She also established a school of art at Kildare that became famous for its illuminated manuscripts.

This month we are honoring St. Brigid of Kildare by looking at poems for contemplation in the Lectio Divina section and at illuminated manuscripts in the Audio and Visio Divina sections.

Lectio Divina: Poems for contemplation

Planet by Catherine Pierce:  An ideal poem for Earth Day

This morning this planet is covered by winds and blue.
This morning this planet glows with dustless perfect light,
enough that I can see one million sharp leaves
from where I stand. I walk on this planet, its hard-packed

dirt and prickling grass, and I don’t fall off. I come down
soft if I choose, hard if I choose. I never float away.
Sometimes I want to be weightless on this planet, and so
I wade into a brown river or dive through a wave
and for a while feel nothing under my feet. Sometimes
I want to hear what it was like before the air, and so I duck
under the water and listen to the muted hums. I’m ashamed

to say that most days I forget this planet. That most days
I think about dentist appointments and plagiarists
and the various ways I can try to protect my body from itself.

Last weekend I saw Jupiter through a giant telescope,
its storm stripes, four of its sixty-seven moons, and was filled
with fierce longing, bitter that instead of Ganymede or Europa,
I had only one moon floating in my sky, the moon

called Moon, its face familiar and stale. But this morning
I stepped outside and the wind nearly knocked me down.
This morning I stepped outside and the blue nearly

crushed me. This morning this planet is so loud with itself-
its winds, its insects, its grackles and mourning doves-
that I can hardly hear my own lamentations. This planet.
All its grooved bark, all its sand of quartz and bones

and volcanic glass, all its creeping thistle lacing the yards
with spiny purple. I’m trying to come down soft today.
I’m trying to see this place even as I’m walking through it.

Copyright © 2017 Catherine Pierce. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Southern Review, Spring 2017.

I ask myself: To what am I attracted in this poem? To what does it move me?

Every Beautiful Thing by Suzanne Delaney

Lightning , rainbows, mountains, oceans, clouds
What seems to be random in creation, taunts us.
Dreamy, drifting, sometimes dangerous
every emotion, every sense, every molecule connected.

Plants, creatures, meteors, moving into forever.
Seeds, stars, flowers hold impossible answers.
Time, mystery, untold generations of life forms;
every beautiful thing destined to return.

Copyright © Suzanne Delaney

I ask myself: What is my experience of the cycles of life on earth? I sit in awe before the mysteries of life.

Favorite poets with poems for contemplation:

Poetry Foundation: Rainer Maria Rilke

Poetry Foundation: Maya Angelou

Poetry Foundation: Mary Oliver

Poetry Foundaton: Edna St. Vincent Millay

Painted Prayerbook:  Jan Richardson’s site where she interconnects writing, art, and faith.

Audio Divina: Music accompanied by images

Enjoy the following selections and let your heart and soul be touched by their messages.

Two Trees is a mystical poem by Yeats describing the Archetypal Tree, its stages and the Eternal Renewal.

Legolas’s Song of the Sea is a poem by Tolkien. It expresses a heart that experiences the ocean, the joy of salt sea air, and the wailing of gulls.  Rights to the poetry belong to the Tolkien Estate. Rights to the music belong to Yolanda Mott

For Spiritual Reading

For You by Maureen N. McLane at

The Poetic Comtemplation of Thomas Merton

Now, l invite you to take a look at the images in the Visio Divina section that follows.

Visio Divina: Art for Prayer and Meditation

“Visual images are another doorway to sacred awareness. They can touch into our desire to grow in intimacy with God. So, we encourage one another to let ourselves be touched by the colors, shapes, figures and symbols that capture our attention most as we are praying. While gazing at an image ~ a painting, a photo, an icon, a sculpture, a piece of pottery … something may leap out at us, calling our attention to something of God just waiting to reveal itself to us.”

(Ideas inspired by Christine Valters Paintner and Betsey Beckman in their book, Awakening the Creative Spirit: Bringing the Arts to Spiritual Direction.  See also Abbey of the Arts.)

Bridgid of Kildare founded a School of Arts where the techniques were taught for illuminations of manuscripts. This month, we feature ancient illuminations and modern illuminations. Additional references to illuminations are provided below. Manuscripts are often scriptural and/or poetic in nature.

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux in a medieval illuminated manuscript.

Enjoy the beauty of the combined colors. Marvel at the shape given to the lettering. Perhaps you could create an illumination in your own journal.

Illumination by Tania Crossingham. A biblical passage from Psalm 42.

As you gaze at the illumination, marvel at the calligraphy also.

There are many ways to illuminate capital letters. You could illuminate your initials, a son’s or daughter’s initials, or a grandchild’s initials. This can be a contemplative work of love.

Featured Videos

YouTube has innumerable videos on illuminated manuscripts, their history, and how to draw illuminated letters. A tiny sampling follows. Should you get interested in exploring this historical treasure, there are more than enough titles on YouTube to whet your appetite.

Illuminated Letters:  Dalan Hartmann

How to Draw Classic or Gothic Letters

A Short History of Illuminated Manuscripts: 1300 years of illumination illustrated by 200 manuscripts

Illuminations Treasures of the Middle Ages: BBC, Livros Arte

Featured Websites

A Visual Sonnet

The Illuminated Page: History

Art for Kids: How to Make an Illuminated Manuscript

Wikipedia: Illuminated Manuscript

Kathryn Finter: Contemporary Manuscript Illumination