Poetry Friday

[Poetry Friday]: Holy Ground

Iphigene here!

It’s been quite a while since I posted anything in Gathering Books. I’m still technically on a blogging hiatus, but I was asked to step in, so here I am. I’m quite excited to be back for Poetry Friday today. I’m sharing an original poem I wrote sometime in December 2016. It’s part of a series I wrote called Open Spaces which are poems I worked on based on some of the paintings I made. I hope you enjoy it.

I’m delighted to be able to contribute to Poetry Friday today  and seeing that Linda of Teacher Dance is hosting!

Painting by Iphigene (Acrylic on Canvas)
Painting by Iphigene (Acrylic on Canvas)

Holy Ground (Open Spaces #3)

They taught me how to pray—

A formula of words repeated

Across beads lined up in 10s

Each recitation a promise

Of finding God

Of growing Holy


And yet each utterance

Left my mouth,

while my thoughts

Filled with things to do

And people I knew

As my hands sped through

Bead after bead

With words learned

In my youth.


I thought of God as contained

In these little practices

Of prayers, Of kneeling

And houses with crosses

Upon their roofs.

Only to find walls and words

Fading into the repetition


And then, upon a hill

Outside these churches I knew

Beneath the open sky

I saw the trees sway

The flowers bloom

The mountains stand in glory

When wordlessness

Filled my mouth

I found the God

My prayer thought they knew


For in the vastness of nature

In its beauty and wildness

Lay a prayer only uttered

With open mouth and

Wonder, a holiness

Found in my smallness

Against this holy ground

Of greatness.


(I have posted this poem in some obscure part of the internet under my pseudonym)

30 comments on “[Poetry Friday]: Holy Ground

  1. This is beautiful. I love it so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, Iphogene – this is one of my favorite things you’ve written that I’ve ever read. So deep and light and full of life. “Wonder, a holiness” – yes. I’ve been thinking a lot about space lately (how, like white space in a poem, I need to cultivate more of it in my home and studio and mind!), and this poem is a lovely way to greet Poetry Friday this new year. Blessings to you! And thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Robyn,
      I am fascinated with space and my heart desires for it. It reflects in my paintings and the poetry inspired by those paintings. I have re-arranged my life recently to make way for space, to allow myself to be away from clutter both inside and outside. I am delighted that this poem spoke to you, that it resonated in its tone and depth. Thank you too. Blessings to you as well!


  3. This is beautiful, Iphogene and matches wonderfully with your painting.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is so beautiful. I have often thought that it is in the wonder and beauty of the natural world that we can find what our mind and spirit are searching for. Thank you for sharing this, it really is something special.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jane,
      I have always lived in the city, but in the past two years have grown to truly love nature and the wonders it has to offer. If there is anything that truly awes me—that shows me greatness it is nature, its beauty and diversity and the life that surrenders to everyday.
      I am glad this poem resonated with you. Thank you for taking the time to read it. 🙂


  5. So much creativity in your heart, Iphigene! I like how your painting and poem fit together. My favorite line is “a prayer only uttered with…wonder.” Here’s to creativity and wonder in 2017!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Tabatha,
      You do not know how much that means to me, to be told i have creativity in my heart. It took a while for me to truly believe i was ‘creative’. So indeed, Here’s to creativity and wonder! cheers!


  6. lindabaie

    I’m glad you’re here today, Iphigene for you filled a space so beautifully about holy places that are unexpected, but fill the empty up. I love the painting too and the twoness of the connection: “a prayer only utteredWith open mouth and/ Wonder.” Nature means much to me, but I don’t think I’ve captured it quite as beautifully as you have. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Linda.
      Yes, we think of Holy as limited to the symbols we’ve grown to associate with the word. Over the years, I have come to realize that outside these symbols is something so awesome that one cannot help but be open-mouthed in wonder.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Iphigene, Your poem spoke to me, too. I often think we can hear God best in silence, in the cathedral of nature, with natural light all around us. The painting is beautiful, too. If only our crowded cities could retain some places for that silent worship. I adore this line: “a holiness/ Found in my smallness” for there we find forgiveness, too. Great poem! Happy New Year! Brenda

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Brenda,
      It seems many from the Poetry Friday have a strong affinity towards nature and the wonder that it brings. Yes, in the appreciation of the natural we see greatness that I think not any book or prayer can teach us. I’m glad you liked both poem and painting. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think when we’re in nature, we’re discovering it for ourselves. We are the creator –of our own thoughts and ideas — as well as being in the presence of the creator. Whereas when we are reading or looking at art, someone else got there first, and they are translating. As if they become the clergy. And we are the parishioner. Or perhaps we have all read Thoreau, and we are his acolytes. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hahaha. Well, Thoreau, i am pretty sure has influenced many. I agree with you, to read about nature and to experience it are two different things. I remember reading a whole collection of Mary Oliver as well as look at images of birds, i was curious about birds. Drew them even, but when i saw them, i was overwhelmed. A stillness overcame me.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I think that stillness allows in the divine. Thanks for the chat. XOXO

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Iphigene, this is enchanting! I love the painting and the whisper of words in your poem. There is such greatness found in smallness!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What a beautiful poem that speaks to my soul. Reading it makes me think of my favorite places to worship–a church that had floor to ceiling windows behind the altar that overlooked the valley below. Another was a church on St. Croix whose windows were open to the sea. Something about natural beauty calls me to God.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Kay,
      Thank you. The Churches you describe sound wonderful. Its amazing to realize that God is not confined in these traditional places of Worship rather he is everywhere and nature is one if those places of worship without walls.


  10. Thank you. Not only is the poem lovely….it hits deep. Faith is such a journey. There is sacred God and there is religion. Often the two meet….but the older I get the more I see and feel where they don’t. I grew up with those beads too….but I no longer use them or practice faith with them. Bless you for finding sacred in the open spaces. I’m sure God smiled when you discovered them too.


    • Hi Linda,
      Yes, there is more to faith and God than the prayers we learn. While I still identify myself as part of the religion I was born in, I go beyond it when i think of Faith and God, for truly that belongs in the Open Spaces. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the poem. 🙂


  11. You seem to have found some enlarging, too! Well done, Iphigene!

    Liked by 1 person

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  13. This is so beautiful–thanks for sharing this personal, powerful poem!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Molly,
      It’s nice to know that other people enjoyed this little piece. You’re welcome, its always a pleasure to be able to share a bit of myself in my poetry. 🙂


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