Friday, September 14, 2012

Poetry Friday
Celebrating Saint Hildegard's Feast Day

After a summer hiatus, I hope to be a more regular contributor to Poetry Friday again. Certainly, the offerings each week introduce me to amazing poets and work I wouldn’t want to miss.Today’s poetry banquet is hosted by Diane at Random Noodling. Thanks, Diane. I can’t wait to sample all that’s dished up.

This week I got a sneak peek at the cover art for my first YA book, Feathers and Trumpets, A Story of Hildegard of Bingen to be published by Apprentice Shop Books. After blinking between disbelief and amazement, I called to my husband to share the moment. This is all new to me. I feel humbled that my words are inspiring art. Thank you to illustrator Lisa Greenleaf for the first draft of a gorgeous cover.

Saint Hildegard’s feast day is on Monday, September 17th. In honor of her day and her upcoming elevation to Doctor of the Church, I share this poem, the starting point for one of the book’s chapters.

Statue of Saint Hildegard at St. Hildegard's Abbey, Eibingen, Germany

Feather in the Dogwood

“I am a feather on the breath of God.”
~Hildegard von Bingen

Adrift among dogwood petals,
glade shadow voices whisper gold
brilliance into the greenwood.

Wings quiver, undulate,
scribe radiant notes that
flow and ebb on blossom cream.

“O mirum admirandum.”

I whirl on sacred breath,
dance, reach, leap, until
crystalline tones
pierce my shaft
pin me
to the dogwood

whose life sap pulsates
my surrender
in a fractured crescendo.

© Joyce Ray

20 comments:

  1. My first time here, Joyce - hello! What a beautiful poem - I love the "fractured crescendo." Happy Poetry Friday!

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Renee, and for your comment.

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  2. Congratulations on your upcoming book! I love the quote “I am a feather on the breath of God.” Also, "radiant notes that
    flow and ebb on blossom cream."

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    1. Thanks, Tabatha. Hildegard was very poetic. I love that quote, too. I appreciate your comment.

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  3. Congratulations, Joyce! That's great news - does the rest of the group know that?? I love this poem...particularly the line "I whirl on sacred breath" - well done!

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    1. Hi Matt. If you mean my writing group, yes! Your comment means a lot to me. Thank you. Sometimes it's hard to put ourselves out there, right?

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  4. "I whirl on sacred breath" So beautiful!

    Congratulations and welcome back!

    a.

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    1. Amy,thanks for commenting and for the welcome back!

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  5. Joyce, why haven't you shared this good news with us before? Congratulations!

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  6. Hi Diane. Maybe I finally believe it! Thank you and many thanks for the link to Hildegard you provided. You are always thinking!

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  7. Lovely!! Thank you for sharing this with us. And Congratulations!!

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    1. Thanks, Andy, for your comment.

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  8. Hi, Joyce. This stanza iis speaking to me:

    "I whirl on sacred breath,
    dance, reach, leap, until
    crystalline tones
    pierce my shaft
    pin me
    to the dogwood"

    I discovered Hildegard's music after the Chant CD came out and I was looking for similar music. She was so talented.

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    1. Laura, thanks for your comment and selecting the words that speak to you in the poem. Listening to Hildegard's music inspires me as I write. My favorite recording is the CD made by the sisters at St. Hildegard's Abbey in Germany.

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  9. Wow! Dogwoods are some of my favorite spring blossoms. I can so relate to "blossom cream." Does the dogwood have some spiritual significance? This poem thrums with adoration. And congratulations on your book!!

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    1. Violet, "thrums with adoration" is a very special complement. Thank you. I think legend says that the cross was made from dogwood. The blossoms form a Maltese cross and the center part resembles a crown of thorns.

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  10. Lovely. It has such a reverent and mystical feel to it. Perfect for the topic!

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  11. Congratulations! It sounds like it will be a wonderful book!

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  12. Lovely poem, Joyce. Congratulations on the book! It's definitely time to start believing.

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    1. Thanks,Mary Lee, Ruth and Doraine! I appreciate your comments so much.

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Comments welcome.