Thursday, July 15, 2010

Canticle after Vespers

One evening, after Vespers, about two Augusts, ago I sat on the porch of my hermitage at Hesychia House of Prayer and beheld the evening moving slowly into night. It was a beautiful beholding! No journal or bible in sight, I did Lectio with the Twilight Hour. After I went into my hermitage I sat down and wrote what I remembered. I named it Canticle after Vespers: progressive view from a country porch swing.

Day is done
Three cows in the pond
One cow thinking about going into the pond
Fifteen cows grazing in the green shadowed grass
One cow mournfully mooing
as though our world will never be healed
Three calves joyfully frolicking
as though there is no need for mouning at all
four layers of blue green hills as a back drop
Three humming birds hovering over my head
Two mocking birds sitting on the fence
One glowing sun descending in the west
One August moon rising in the east
Three lazy purple clouds saying their night prayers
Only God knows how many locusts singing from the trees
A sweet summer breeze coming in from the east
One August moon growing larger
One lone firefly looking for a mate
One August moon growing bright as a harvest moon
Three stars coming out to look at the moon
One mooing cow (finally) lying down to rest
A great star family growing in number
The choir of locusts ending their song
Three more fireflies joining the loner
The canopy of night sky remembering the earth
A great silence falling upon me
A small joy spreading through me
A large wish for world peace washing over me
Fifty-five wordless prayers dwelling within me
Day is done.
_Macrina Wiederkehr, taken from The Circle of Life
[written at Hesychia House of Prayer,
founding site of St. Scholastica Monastery]
This is a wonderful exercise for the soul. Go outside or just sit by a window. Your homework is to spend time beholding. After about a half hour, go away from the sight you were beholding and in poetry form, record what you remember.


  1. a beautiful canticle, macrina. i love to watch cows grazing in a field, to me they seem like such contemplative creatures.

  2. Yes, what a beautiful canticle! How mindful you are, Macrina! Thank you for the prodding to do Lectio Divina in the Twilight Hour. Something I now look forward to.

  3. I echo the others, I will do this today.

  4. Macrina,
    I'm going 'outside' my familiar for ten weeks or so. To behold, England and family and old friends. You have wished me 'surprise annointings' - Thank you. Below, some recent 'homework' after more beholdings.
    Every blessing to my Cootamundra sister.

    My half cup runneth over

    It is spirit that celebrates absence
    That regards half-full/half-empty as gift.
    It is spirit that acknowledges enough is enough
    Understands that space and silence
    Even suffering
    Can be subtle invitations to abundance.

    Oh Spirit, help me receive
    The half cup offered
    With gratitude.
    Deliver me from envy,
    From addiction to more and more and more.

    Lead me ever homewards.


  5. Evening, twilight, "gloaming" is such a peaceful time of day! We have lost touch with this peaceful "winding down" hour in our world of artificial light and electronics.
    Lately, I love to go for a walk at this time, one can sometimes catch an evening breeze or two!

  6. I do this often. It's so soothing, peaceful, like a soul nap. This is what I wrote once:

    I hope you like it.