Blessing for the Weary

Blessing for the Weary © Gail Doktor

This blessing is for those who heard the morning call
Kept the vigil through the night
Then kept on working and watching in the day, too

Hands that can hardly hold on
Eyes that burn and blink to stay open anymore
Throat that aches to speak or swallow

This blessing sits next to you
Bumping your shoulder and chuckling
Sharing the long night and the endless day

Paying attention alongside you
Bearing witness and digging in
Catching you as you finally come off shift and lay down your head

Promising that dreams may come
And sleep will heal what can be healed
And you will rise again in the company of a love that stays awake
Even when you cannot

Blessing for the Well

Blessing for the Well © Gail Doktor 2018

This blessing remembers stories
Of a woman who waited
To offer drinks of water from the well
To passersby in exchange
For something else:
Kinship, connection, survival, recognition, coin
Or maybe just a smile
And a spoken word
Of hope and thanks

It recalls tales of a man
Who dug his roots beneath the desert
Near the bedrock of an oasis
Far down until water filled its darkness
And brought back generations
From wandering
Returning always to that
Node of life and time

It recounts myths about prophets
Shouting and praying
Walking and talking
To themselves or someone hidden from the others
Striking the earth
With the heavy heel of a worn staff
That brings up gushing springs
Enough to satisfy doubting, thirsty souls

It remembers a holy one
Who sipped from the tainted cup
Offered by the stranger
Called accursed,
Foreigner, other,
Sighed and gave back a blessing:
Promise of more and better
Yet to come

This blessing knows the well
From which you drink
May remember those stories
And call them its matriarchs and patriarchs
Yet it comes from this place
Draws its depths out of local geography
Dropping through layers and foundations
To tap the waiting pool
Sweet or pungent
Potable or poison
Clear or contaminated
Safe or sick-making

This blessing digs down with you
And knows that whatever you find
Below ground
Is what you may call yours
And helps you discover a way
To filter and cleanse it
Pump and pipe it
Draw it up and out
Spilling into the bright light of day
To flow out into the need
That hasn’t yet been met

Blessing For Rain

Blessing For Rain © Gail Doktor 2018

This blessing turns its face
And fingers upward
And opens itself
To the leaking of the sky

Grateful for the density
Of particles that quiver
Waiting to be released
Bursting from confinement
In heavens and clouds

Eager to pour out and down
Rivulets and runnels
Torrents and teardrops
Weeping of the world for itself

Reaching for the part of creation
That thirsts and longs
Rising tide
As life soaks into
Barren or burgeoning earth

This blessing holds out its palms
Like a beggars bowl
Waiting to be filled

Prepared to catch just enough
Letting the rest overflow
For too much all at once
Brings choking drowning
Until you are swept away

Ready to capture more
When too little leaves wracklines of past tides
And high water marks of dry memory
While the parched soul sighs
And wonders when hope will return

Cups its hands
To hold water enough
In clear sloshing slopping puddles
To sustain you
To moisten your parted lips
To squelch across your tongue
To slip down your throat
To satisfy your belly

This blessing
Quenches your yearning
With what you need
And not one drop more

Blessing for Wilderness

Blessing for Wilderness (c) Gail Doktor

This blessing grows
In the thicket of thorny cane
Around which you bend and step
Caught on its prickers
So the scratch hurts

The berry sweetness
Ripe and red beneath the serrated green leaf
Bursts brighter on your tongue
Rolls throbbing through your hesitant fingers
Breaks on the ground
Smacks in the mouth
Hard-won among tall grass, lush fern, fallen birch, rotting logs, and working bees,

The wild richness flourishes
In the trampled bowl
You guess was as recently as a few hours ago
A deer’s breakfast, a bear’s luncheon,
Flattened like a nest
Trampled down among arching branches

Here is the heart
Of pain and succulence
You find along the narrow animal trail
You mistook for a human path
Overwhelmed by the scratchy maps
It leaves on your exposed skin as you pass through

As you suck on the just-turned crimson  plunder
In the wake of those first missteps
Off known routes and maps
Coming to a place that is
For just now
Yours alone

You linger
Gather up, gather in
Until you cannot bear to feast anymore
Unless you return with someone else
Offering unexpected bounty

Yet who will follow you
Past all markers into the unknown
For a handful of summer sweetness
And a temporary set of scars
And a blessing stained
Across empty, cupped palms?

Blessing for Pause Before the Storm

Blessing for Pause Before the Storm © Gail Doktor July 2018

Blessing for the heat
In the moment before everything breaks open
For the spiked humidity running as sweat down your back
For the breath inheld while you count higher and higher
As the pressure mounts, as the dissonance of charged particles
Positive and negative builds up
In beating temple and swollen chest,
In clenched jaw and fisted hands
Until you cannot wait

This blessing embraces all that follows:
Freedom flowing like wind over tongue
Rush of carbon dioxide expelled outward
Letting go of tension
Heavens torn apart and split wide
And everything imprisoned pours forth
Loud and pounding as drums in your ears
Percussive as thunder from the heavens
Vivid as strange strikes of lightning
And immediate as vision veiled by the torrent that falls

This blessing calls your focus
Here and now
On what you locked away
And what you liberated
As the pressure equalized
So you could breathe again


Blessing for the Long Haul

Blessing for the Long Haul © Gail Doktor – July 2018

Sometimes the distance seems impossible
Between start and finish
Between departure and destination

Yet this blessing folds itself among your belongings
Tucked within easy reach
To be called upon as needed
When the road is long and miles accumulate
When the mind needs a story to stay attuned
When the heart needs a leap to keep going
When the body requires a drumbeat to set the pace

This blessing believes
You will arrive
And it has kept you company
All along the way

Blessing for Breath

This blessing cannot be separated
From its many meanings:
Wind and breath and Spirit.

This blessing presses
Into you and fills the hollows
Without asking permission

It means to be with you
Whether you invite it or not
Carrying life

This blessing blows enough
To feed the spark
Inside you

To bear the whisper of your name
Where you can hear it
And be known

This blessing exhales again
Taking you out of yourself
Back  into the world


Blessing on the Passage

This blessing begins where the path starts
Not on the map or GPS
Not with the arrow or pulsing dot
That says ‘You are here.’

This blessing starts inside
The deep places of the question itself
Beyond promise
Of a familiar destination

This blessing is born
In the restlessness that urges
Your steps along the way
From being to becoming

This blessing does not presume
You know what comes next
But keeps pace with your beating heart
And steady breaths

This blessing accompanies you
As assurance that you
Are already en route
On a path past longitude and latitude

This blessing stays close as
Each footfall meets an earth
That rises up to press against
Your sojourner’s sole

And this blessing
Grabs tight to stone and soil
With roots like ancient fingers
To hold the Way open


Lenten Word #45: Absent

  • Poem: Sonnet 98: From you have I been absent in the spring By William Shakespeare
    From you have I been absent in the spring,
    When proud-pied April, dressed in all his trim,
    Hath put a spirit of youth in everything,
    That heavy Saturn laughed and leaped with him.
    Yet nor the lays of birds, nor the sweet smell
    Of different flowers in odour and in hue,
    Could make me any summer’s story tell,
    Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew:
    Nor did I wonder at the lily’s white,
    Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose;
    They were but sweet, but figures of delight
    Drawn after you, – you pattern of all those.
        Yet seem’d it winter still, and, you away,
        As with your shadow I with these did play.

Lent Word #44: Die

  • Music video: Disturbed – Another Way To Die
  • Poem: Music when Soft Voices Die (To –) By Percy Bysshe Shelley
    Music, when soft voices die,
    Vibrates in the memory—
    Odours, when sweet violets sicken,
    Live within the sense they quicken.
    Rose leaves, when the rose is dead,
    Are heaped for the belovèd’s bed;
    And so thy thoughts, when thou art gone,
    Love itself shall slumber on.