Breathing Exercises

Refuge and Prospect

Posts Tagged ‘art

Emending Fences

with 4 comments


Today, in a dream,
I saw a thing so far
denied to me.
That between my neighbor’s
and my home, there
would only be the shadow
and the dark at night,
and after sunrise
only questions about what might
bring us together. Now my eyes
have seen the dusky pathway
through the green—misty, wide, and lit
by lantern-yellow beams
in the friendly trees—I miss it.

Then, woods lie open: no fence
or line is needed, to remind
where my neighbor’s premise ends,
or to protect what’s mine.



Written by dmaddalena

2014/06/26 at 9:55 pm

Love Tornado

leave a comment »

By one of our young artists …


The Love Tornado comes with no warning.

Written by dmaddalena

2014/05/25 at 10:17 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with

Starting Directions To

with 5 comments

This is a poem mashed up with a piece of music … wherein a robot takes over a Glitch Mob song and manages to give directions to a place worth getting to.

I’m imitating the experience of my smartphone interrupting my music to give me directions. I decided to write my own directions, get the computer to read them, and then mash it up with a song with a beat (with apologies to The Glitch Mob, who just made the song, called Fistful of Silence, but had no control over what I did with it).

Listen first (loud), then read the words


Starting directions to
the land that I promise you.
Proceed to the route.
Proceed to the route.
Turn thou neither to the right nor to the left.

Do not be afraid of the desert.

Turn thou neither to the right nor to the left;
nor make up your mind to return to the land
where Pharaoh broke your back …
with bread

In the endless horizontal,
there has always been a pillar
of fire

And after the scorching desert heat by day
and fire by night
only a blind man would miss the cloud.
Proceed to the route.
Proceed to the route.
Proceed to the route.

At dawn,
turn to the east and face the rising sun.
Raise your fist.

At the right moment, open your hand,
to reveal its well-traveled lines to the brightening sky.
And as the heavens read the roadmap of your palm,
know that you have already come

Written by dmaddalena

2014/05/19 at 4:20 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , ,

Easter art offerings

leave a comment »

For Easter this year, we encouraged people to think about ‘resurrection’ and bring some art or other offering to share at our annual lamb roast. This was Mike M’s art:

2014-04-20 18.03.39

Mike M sounding better than anybody practicing guitar has a right to sound.

And, the document he put on display to explain what he was up to: Easter_Celebration_Artist_Statement

And, here are a few more things we had on display.

And, a few minutes of video of the installation inside the house:

Written by dmaddalena

2014/05/14 at 5:42 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , ,

Art and Scripture for Advent

leave a comment »

Dec. 6, Bruce Herman, Magnificat Miriam Virgin Mother_1_advent_image

Miriam: Virgin Mother and Second Adam Triptychs–
Bruce Herman (Permanent installation–Monastery of San Paolo, Orvieto, Italy) … from the devotional

A simple and beautiful ‘Advent calendar‘ and devotional from Biola University’s Center for Christianity, Culture and the Arts, combining interesting art, music, scripture, and comment from members of that community (and, in a classy touch, letting you choose to enjoy all or only some of what’s on offer). Like all good Advent calendars, this one reveals some fun and thought-provoking surprises along the waiting way that precedes Christmas day.

I also love the brave use of technology and non-traditional art. I’m inspired.

The Advent Project

Written by dmaddalena

2013/12/15 at 2:52 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with ,


leave a comment »


We recently received a bit of a divine nudge on the subject of community and the pace-of-our-lives. The last twenty years have been good for the kind of spaces where you can sit with a hot drink. But there is a tension in every cafe I’ve ever been in. Coffee places like Starbucks set out to bring back the third place, but spoiled it with paper cups (= don’t make yourself at home) and wifi (= your social network is only accessible via the web–don’t bother the person sitting next to you). The word that came to us was that something of the patient, communal, sacred-wasteful needs to be restored.

The samovar is the center of a kind of tea ceremony that is focused primarily on the people you’ve gathered with. It is a tea service that invites us to sit awhile, if only because the device itself is made to be beautiful, like art, and not sit behind a counter. Small cups, refreshed from the strong tea and hot water, mean that you’ll stay nearby if you are thirsty (no venti cups here, please!) One author describes the zen of listening to the water heat up in the samovar (and says it is as important as listening to a lecture by a master). This one was a gift that sat gathering dust in a friend’s cubicle, unused. Now it is being drafted into service as a centerpiece of community life.

Written by dmaddalena

2013/03/24 at 4:34 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , ,


leave a comment »

We celebrated the birth of Christ Jesus last night at our meeting with a reading of Mary’s song in Luke (ch 1.39-55 in Greek, with English on-screen), and a participatory candle lighting that slowly illuminated a nativity scene. I resisted the urge to Photoshop the dirty plates and cups out of the above image … because that would make the incarnation less real. To paraphrase: while we were yet unwashed and sloppy, Christ came to live among us.

We shared some art and listened to some of Bruce Cockburn’s beautiful Christmas album. Michael read “thoj” …

kevin asked me to write a poem about humility
which is like asking a speeding freight train
to write a poem about the sound made
by a butterfly’s wings

the oxford american dictionary
defines humilty as
“the quality of having a modest view of one’s importance”
then defines modest as
“viewing one’s abilities or achievments in a humble way”
which means that despite probably having multiple advanced degrees
in english language smartness
they have no clue what humility or modesty means
and hoped that nobody else would notice

discovering this little spinning dance
would normally be all i need
to wind up a good rant about the stupidity
rampant in people who aren’t me
inviting you to join my special club of people
who are above that sort of thing
because we notice it

but i am writing a poem about humility
which pauses the snark express just long enough
for a moment of silence to be heard
it washes over me like a wave,
or am i feeling it echo in my bones
perfectly still
trying to hold this …. thing … long enough
to tell you about it,
an invitiation that has nothing to do
with rising above

if the current holders of the nobel prize for lexicographic ineptitude
at the smartypants oxford american dictionary writing company
got their act together
and wrote an entire volume on humility

it would still be the beat of an insect’s wing
against the waning stillness of morning air
drowned out by the cosmic freight train of humility
infinity just became finite
eternity just appeared now
the creator of space and time
lying in a manger, trying to find his hand
so he can put it in his mouth

Written by dmaddalena

2011/12/21 at 6:17 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , ,