Contemplations of the Cloistered Heart

These thirteen poems are spiritual contemplations that invite a multi-cultural experience of prayer and edification. You may use these poems for personal reflection, or reproduce them to participate in a spiritual exercise of communing with the Divine.

By Emily Isaacson. May be reproduced for contemplative exercise.

Contemplation One.

O true Mother,
O true circle that surrounds,
O true love that bore,
O spirit of nourishment,

O only door
into the realms of the earth and nature,
(mountain, river, and sea)

O Midwife of life and all its richness,
O Sewer of the stitched tapestry,

O Servant of the family way,
O Observer of the baby’s play,
O Baker of the leavened loaf,
O Helper of the cooking fire,
O Wine of eventide is poured,
Walk last behind the child!

Contemplation Two

O true Father,
O true provider,
O true guidance,
O spirit of protection,

O parental soul
of the child in three dimensions,
(mind, body, spirit)

O leader of the family home,
O covenant partner of the sacred union,

O Restorer of the cell of procreation,
O Reassurance of the universe’s ordering of life,
O Strong tower, be a place of refuge
O City on a hill, now lighthouse to the ocean’s roar,
O Fortress of ongoing safety amid strife,

Contemplation Three

O true Elder,
O true watcher of the people,
O true gain of wisdom,
O spirit of times past,

O only illuminator
of the three dimensions of time,
(child, parent, elder)

O smoldering smudging burning,
O lighted flame of future vision,

O Sound advice from depth of night,
O Spirit of the ancient’s word,
O Dreamer of the life beyond,
O Wind of legend north,
O Teacher of the ways of earth,

Contemplation Four

O true Ancient of Days,
O true mountain,
O true sure-footed deer,
O sign of eternal favour,

O only cave
Where four directions blow:
(North, East, South, West)

O day of all earth’s creation bright,
O night of constellations of the heavens,

O Prayer for deeper meaning,
O Word for understanding,
O Diviner of the nature’s song,
O Highlands of the earth’s vast crags,
O Diversity of senses: vision, hearing, touch, and taste,

Contemplation Five

O true Daughter,
O true young singer,
O true vintage melody,
O spirit of the proverb’s last word,
Intuit the rhythm!

O only receiver
of the three promises of the Divine nature,
(live, love, breathe)
Perceive life and death!

O black-haired onyx stone,
O white-haired mouth of rosehip,
Boil water o’er the fire!

O Steeping tea of herbs, infusions of the soul,
O Poultice of medicinal worth,
O Tincture of the master’s hand,
O Ointment of the camphor’s cool,
O Triad with the drum beat,
Reweave eternal destiny!

Contemplation Six

O true Son,
O true beat of blood in my veins,
O true bow and arrow,
O hunter of the dream world,
Find wisdom’s day and night!

O only accepter
of the way things are and the way they are not,
(accept, bear, fight)
Grow courage!

O strength of my now aging bones,
O character of the courageous home,
Return to your source!

O Child of the cooking fire,
O Youth of forest’s hierarchy,
O Man of hunt and gathering,
O Leader of a tribe,
O Way through the wilderness,
Set out upon the journey!

Contemplation Seven

O true Child,
O true liturgy of birth,
O true song and troubadour,
O onward and inward growth,

O only burgeoning invisible,
Unfolding of a flower’s petal,
(respect, values, practices)

O paradox of all forces of earth and heaven,
O irony of the sacred verse in rhyme,

O Rooted tree, deep within the ground,
O Ancient idea that breathes new life,
O Shores of endless seas within their bounds,
O Infant of the mother’s breast,
O Milk of rich nourishment,

Contemplation Eight

O true Hero,
O speaker of the play upon the stage,
O personhood we follow in renaissance,
O woman for whom we cast our vote,

O only playwright
Who wrote of protagonist before time began,
(quill, ink, papyrus)

O landscape spanning thro the valley wide,
O heaven open to our wounded pride,
Mission of art!

O Seismic afternote from infidel,
O Music to the finest ear in perfect pitch,
O Ebony and Ivory upon the keyboard of soliloquy,
O word and verse that stands in rhyming couplet,
O Sonnet of resurrection from the past,
Great orator!

Contemplation Nine

O true Physician,
O true cure,
O true medicine,
O spirit of life and healing,

O only bedside watcher through the night,
O keeper of the lantern held high
(over the miles of sick and lonely),

O white stone hospice of the dying,
O seashell mansion of the living,

O Prayer before a patient’s final word,
O Maternal help at baby’s first breath,
O Prescriber of the remedy,
O Binder of society’s wound,
O Strong and wise figure tried,

Contemplation Ten

O true Divine,
O true voice calling in the night,
O true light of day,
O spirit of saving grace,
Call me West!

O only desire of all my worth,
of the shades of my mind, and the colors of my soul,
(red, yellow, black, white)
Draw me North!

O primal source of all that heals,
O person that redeems,
Take me East!

O Watcher of the deepest heart of mankind,
O Guardian of the Sacred Circle,
O Talking piece with Eagle feather,
O Initiator of the story’s power,
O Telling of the legend of people and animals,
Fly me South!

Contemplation Eleven

O true Friend,
O true revealer of my heart,
O true lattice for my soul’s rose,
O joy of my time before heaven,

O only prophet
of the logos and the rhema,

O tomb where beauty does not fade,
O epitaph where chiselled in its stone o’er the grave,

O Suture of the surgeon’s lancet,
O Critique of the artist’s paint,
O Map of the compass spiritual quest,
O High places of new worship,
O Beginning from the end, circle us,

Contemplation Twelve

O true Presence,
O true healer,
O true voice,
O spirit of contemplation,

O only builder
of the three mansions of the soul,
(heaven, earth, hell)

O highest beauty of all created things,
O paradise of the seven heavens,

O Subject of the child’s dream,
O Object of the prophet’s word,
O Deeps of onward wisdom,
O Healer of the Mother wound,
O Tryst with triune light,

Contemplation Thirteen.

O true River,
O true waters flowing down,
O true legends of the deep,
O spirit of the mountain to the sea,
Sweep on!

O only four directions
of the four medicines,
(from innocence to strength)
It is the wind that moves the trees!

O waterhouse of all earth’s unseen springs,
O portrait of the skies’ bright indigo bead,
It is the earring of the Great Spirit!

O Visions of the tribal dance,
O Sweep of sunlight’s fiery chance,
O Moon’s sonata, rising true,
O Community that caused the wound,
O You shall heal it too,
Lamp to the darkness!