In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti …

Clad in blue-gray woolly plaid, black oxfords
and pressed, pristine white uniform-blouse
on the morning walk from the dorms to the convent,
past the apple orchard dripping rubescent fruit,
past long-lashed benign cows gently grazing,
walking briskly across that green pasture land
into the greener wood rich in conifers and
the piney debris that crunches amicably under foot,
in single-minded pursuit of that brass-hinged door,
on into aprons, to 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 crackling timpani of wood-ovens firing up, pans crashing,
the rhythmic swish and sway of our community,
punctuated by the clicking of Sister’s rosary as she
monitors the students and novices in silent industry at bakers’ tables.
This is the sacred work of those meditative hours before Mass and school
and the 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, commemorates the Holy Apostles.
Oh, palpable Presence, we work in the silence of Adoration,
preparing pure wafers for a week of Masses.
In a solemn alcove reserved for this task,
we mix flour, salt, and holy water blessed by Father Gregory,
then the fragile process of baking on baking tongs,
silvery antiques, perhaps a hundred years old.

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

Receiving the Eucharist
knowing it was formed by my own hand.

…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, perhaps 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 …

Mysterious. Numinous. Inexplicable.
A lifetime ahead to figure it out.

Ecce 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 the stream
from nature’s great cathedrals, everywhere present

... hoc est enim Corpus meum…

for this is my body

for this is my life


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

© 2011, poem rewritten in 2013, Jamie Dedes, previously published in The BeZine, All rights reserved; Virgin adoring the Host by Jean Auguste Donminique Ingres (1980-1867), public domain; Menachem Mendel Morgensztern bio.


What event or experience or time in your life (doesn’t have to be associated with religion) birthed for you the freedom to explore beyond the boundaries set for you? Tell us in a poem and share it or a link to it in the comments below.  All poetry on theme will be published here on Tuesday next. You have until Monday at 8:30 p.m. PST to respond.  All are welcome to come out and play no matter the status of your career: beginning, emerging or pro. Thank you!



  1. Hi Jamie,

    My second response:

    Path Of Seeds

    O, Lady of the breath,
    selfish and in control

    you decide the path of seeds
    you carry and drop in my grove.

    Landscape architect place
    an acorn here, a daisy here,
    chestnut over there. No negotiation.

    Blow my intricate clocks into half spheres,
    my Sycamore immigrants spin
    through your gusts.

    Shoot moss into these worn mortared walls.
    Broadcast grass between these carefully
    laid pavements.

    With you I have no choice
    you deliver into me
    whatever you hold.

    I welcome your unexpected gifts

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Jamie,

    Here’s my first response:

    O, Lady Of The Breath (Six Vacanas)

    1. You Rise

    from my forest and leave
    out of the gob and earth falls.

    It shivers renewed,

    welcomes a similar you
    into my gob.

    You excite my spring buds,
    allow the earth to rise, again.

    2. Can’t Let

    you stay long in the dark,
    or the earth will rot.

    I can’t let you out for long,
    or the earth will rot.

    Let’s follow this pattern.
    I’ll briefly allow you into my dark wood,

    But please don’t take woodsmoke, car fumes,
    coal dust, iron filings, water in with you,

    else I’ll hack you out. These companions
    quicken the rot.

    3. Help With The

    tasting snake in my cave
    form the words I need to say.

    Take my words out into air
    loud enough for others to hear.

    Please don’t say you are weak
    and can’t carry such a weight.

    Please don’t say I failed to welcome
    enough of you into the forest.

    4. My Dad Let You

    in with pungent watercolours on his back,
    stink of Clwyd cowpats and fresh mountain air,

    but when he scraped boilers you secretly
    took into his forest asbestosis strands

    that speed his rot and ruin. I can’t understand
    your thought in all of this

    5. My Sister Threw You

    out over her steering wheel,
    her forest crushed by molded plastic.

    She tried to welcome you back
    but the wood was gone,

    so you gust over her grave
    under an overseeing tree.

    O, my lady of the breath.
    I welcome your coming and going.

    6. Your Cheyne Stokes

    delay before my unconscious Nanna
    let you in.

    I waited a minute, a 10-20
    second episode of
    stopped breath

    suddenly her welcome
    let you in

    deeper and again
    deeper in and out.

    then delay

    then delay

    then delay

    her welcome of you
    and delay I watched seven days

    until she refused your entry for good.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “Beliefs”
    (Raanana, December 4, 2016)

    That I know what my wife is feeling,
    That my love will be enough to protect her
    From the lovelessness around her,
    That my particular being might have some worth
    In the eye of the Grand Schemer of Things,
    That the sun will climb over the eastern mountains tomorrow,
    That the ground on which I walk
    Is as solid as any reality,
    These are small beliefs I think
    That won’t hurt anyone else,
    At least I don’t believe so.
    But there are grander beliefs
    That grow stronger
    With every man and woman who believes them,
    That only the grandest edifices
    Can house them,
    These beliefs,
    Like who’s a chosen people
    And who’s a virgin, an only son, or a true prophet,
    Beliefs that hurt those who don’t believe them.
    These are the beliefs I don’t believe
    Are any good for anything
    That’s not a building.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “An Agnostic’s Prayer”
    (Raanana, January 23, 2014)

    Just for the record
    I don’t believe in you
    So there’s no point in capitalizing, is there?
    That doesn’t mean I don’t wish you were
    Here, there, somewhere.
    God knows I do,
    Well, maybe not the you
    Of everybody else.
    You know exactly what I mean,
    Someone who’s not always
    Making clever excuses
    Why he’s never around
    When we need him.
    I’d like to see you try that on my wife.
    She wouldn’t fall for it.
    She’d tell you
    You’re either here or you’re not here,
    So don’t bother trying to be
    Somewhere in between.
    She’d say if you want someone to believe in you
    Then be there, front and center,
    Instead of hiding behind the guy
    Who’s hiding behind the curtain
    Hoodwinking the true believers.
    Then tell them they have only
    One life in this godforsaken universe
    And that one life is so gut-twistingly precious
    That they should get up off their knees,
    Walk out into the sunshine,
    And smell just how blue the sky is.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “A Lasting Image”
    (Raanana, April 5, 2008)

    Frozen shards of light litter the dusty ground and
    The moon-colored skulls of creatures whose blood
    Once warmed the earth and sated its thirst
    If only for a moment.
    There is a trail I must follow
    Through this forest dark and mordant
    That snakes its wending way from
    The womb of my first love
    To the parched throat of my last.
    I think sometimes of the ancient ones
    And the things of their world
    Of which they were certain.
    It is not so hard to believe in a God,
    An animus for every animal
    Or a hoary herald above the spheres.
    But a monstrous God
    Who plots to devour our innocence
    And rend our hearts with the cruel beauty of its beings,
    Indifferent yet demanding our prayers and oblations;
    Such a God I believe in:
    A God of holocausts and broken promised lands.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “A Certain Silence”
    (Raanana, September 22, 2015)

    There is a certain silence
    On a day like this
    That carries you on its wide wings
    But only those whose souls are weightless
    A silence that muffles the shouts of children
    And banal chatter of adults on mundane matters
    But only for those whose souls are transparent
    A silence that vows to be true
    Even when we live among lies
    But only among those
    Whose souls are consumed by other souls.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you, Jamie for clarification. I offer you this poem, which is also written in the picture of a great artist. The theme is the same. A little explanation – the poem is rather complicated with multiple references. Not subject to a literal reading.

    Repenting Peter (El Greco)

    since as
    everything is Uttered
    a land to even up
    the eye
    you touch grope about
    the walls
    more and more high
    (on) cracks
    the third road is the hardest
    nowhere somewhere
    the third road is the easiest
    am I
    in net

    “that the mighty angel tugs
    along with net of fishermen”*

    *G. Seferis


    Liked by 2 people

  8. Pheidippides Defiant

    A legend has
    A courier
    Who ran and ran
    And told, and died,
    Per Lucian,
    “We win–rejoice!”
    The dying words
    Of this young man.

    A summer day
    In ’84
    Ten thousand ran
    On Market Street,
    And skirted San
    Francisco Bay,
    And saw through fog
    The Golden Gate,
    And past its Park,
    And up a hill
    So steep a man
    In wheelchair
    Went but four in-
    Ches at a time.

    We crossed the thrice-
    Blessed Finish Line
    At Union Square
    To cheering crowds,
    To honor dead
    Who, truth be told,
    Did not exist,
    Or, if he did,
    Not quite the way
    The legend tells.

    But there WAS strife
    In ancient Greece,
    And Persians died
    At Marathon,
    The site now known
    As the event,
    A footrace long
    and arduous.
    And when I ran
    In ’84,
    I briefly WAS
    Defiant of
    Horizon breached,
    My battle won,
    And I rejoiced
    And did not die.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. . no horizontal line .

    early it came,where there are no roads, no silent killer.

    spinning. set me free. let me see swallows return to


    let us cause a reaction, turn our heads quickly. no one

    is looking, there is no one here. we are not afraid of

    the night.

    we spin.

    soft cottons, whimsy thread, mothlike.

    turn about hour on hour. your time is


    we spin.

    to spite silent killers.


    Liked by 1 person

  10. I am very pleasantly surprised! I did not expect such a topic. I have a question. Why can not it be a religious theme? For me the freedom is in the Holy Spirit. My understanding coincides with Berdjaev.

    Liked by 1 person

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