poet's sanctum Poetry Friday

Poetry Friday: A Prayer by Joel M. Toledo

I thought that it would be fitting to share with you this lovely poem by Professor Joel M. Toledo entitled “A Prayer” since it speaks to the gleeful voice amongst most of us as we celebrate Christmas in two days’ time. It encourages us to raise our eyes heavenward in conversation with our Creator – our hearts filled with the spirit of Gladness. This poem is taken from Joel M. Toledo’s book Chiaroscuro.

Cover of Chiaroscuro. Click on the image to be taken to the websource.

Poetry Friday is hosted this week by author Doraine Bennett from Dori Reads. Head on over there to check out more Yuletide-inspired posts.

A Prayer
Or something like it. Maybe a hint of faith:
a faint melody working its way to meaning,
purposeful, wafting past the heresies
of the long day, into the inner spaces.
Often one cannot help listening.
The surrender to sound, taking it in
like air. It makes sense, something
we can believe in. So we fill in
the gaps. We measure the instances of rhythm.
We don’t question the coordinates of music.
In the same way, we have the capacity for belief,
for such immense love. The strains of guitar strings,
the patterns of feeling. All around, things are being
moved by some familiar tune. Just this evening,
rousing to Mr. Mister singing Kyrie
from a radio somewhere, I caught myself staring
out the window: lightning breaking the cover of clouds,
thunder drumming the air like intervals of divinity.
Kyrie Eleison down the road that I must travel.
Kyrie Eleison through the darkness of the night…
And the soul, the soul, whispers the wind,
travels in the firmament, elusive, displaced.
But the body persists–the heart beating, beating,
keeping in step with our human cadence.

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

8 comments on “Poetry Friday: A Prayer by Joel M. Toledo

  1. Well, first of all I learned something, Myra, knowing how ‘kyrie Eleison’ is translated, certainly an important part of this poem, & how beautiful. That final verse is wonderful to contemplate, the two parts of a human being working together and anchored by the body. Thank you!


    • Hi Linda! I often listen to this song as well – but never realized that the lyric itself was the translation for Kyrie Eleison. 🙂 Happy Holidays to you and your family! 🙂 Sending you warm hugs and well wishes for the coming year.


  2. A beautiful poem. I love this line: “lightning breaking the cover of clouds, thunder drumming the air like intervals of divinity.” Kyrie Eleison, my poetry Friday friend. And Merry Christmas.


  3. “We don’t question the coordinates of music.
    In the same way, we have the capacity for belief,
    for such immense love.”

    Such a lovely and haunting poem. The snow falling down your blog is so peaceful and serene (all we have here is rain) and this poem with its whispers of truth: “A Prayer…Or something like it.”


  4. Claudine Fernando

    I need some help.

    What is the tone of this poem? I mean, if you deliver this poem orally, what emotion should you take out?

    Thank you so much!


    • Hi Claudine, I’ve always felt that the poem carries with it a quiet, melancholic, pensive, reflective tone. That is how I would read it perhaps. Thanks for dropping by!


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