Creation as Divine Revelation: 3 Poems
Some theologians have said that nature is our “first scriptures.” This means that long before the Bible was ever written, God was revealing God’s own self through the natural world. This “divine revelation” through creation continues today. Here are three little poems that celebrate God’s revelation through three simple experiences with nature: sunlight on water accompanied by two dolphins, a persistently chirping robin, and an oak tree wrapped in fog. The first poem is by a good friend of mine, Pat Livingston, of Tampa, Florida. Pat is a wife, mother, and grandmother as well as a fine writer and retreat director. The last two poems are by me.
“The Message” (Isaiah 41:10)
By Patricia Livingston
My grandson calls them diamonds
The glittering sun motes
Bouncing off the rippling water’s edges.
Today I’m watching diamonds
By the thousands in the Bay.
Then, two fins in tandem
Slowly break the surface –
Dolphins and diamonds
On this later spring afternoon
As hope was slipping from my heart.
No way to miss the message:
“Do not be afraid
For I am with you.”
Isaiah heard it long ago—
Today it came to me
In diamonds and dolphins.
* * * * * *
“Don’t Sing so Loud, Robin”
By Melannie Svoboda, SND
“Don’t sing so loud, Robin,” I say.
“Your persistent chirping
is announcing your precise location
to some passing hawk in search of breakfast.”
But my warning does no good.
Robin continues to sit in the old oak tree
Nothing— not danger, not fear,
not smallness, not even death itself
can squelch his wild exuberance
at being given yet another day
to sing on planet earth.
Please God, may it be so with me. Amen.
* * * * *
“I pray facing the window”
I pray facing the window,
the open book upon my lap.
As the morning light appears, I glance up
and see the oak tree wrapped in fog—
a fog so dense only a branch or two is peaking through.
“Wow!” I whisper. “Beautiful!”
Then I turn my attention back to the printed page.
But my eyes refuse to stay there.
They want only one thing: to gaze upon that tree.
And they won’t take no for an answer.
So, I say,
Sorry, Holy Words.
Sorry, Finely Crafted Phrases.
A tree in fog
has become my prayer.
Do any of these poems speak to you today?
Have you had a “divine revelation” through nature? Reflect on it. What was the revelation?
Today’s song is by “Big Daddy Weave,” a popular Christian band that has been making beautiful music together for almost 20 years. This song is “Overwhelmed.” (The group will be appearing at “The Fest” on August 5 in Wickliffe, OH. It’s free!) I’m offering two versions: the first is the official music video with some children in Tanzania. The second is the official lyric video.
What do you think or feel about the poems or music? I encourage you to share your response below.
These 3 poems are so beautiful! Thank you. I’m reminded of the poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins which I have loved since I was a teenager at school…55 years ago!
Beautiful way to start the day Sr. Melannie!
I like the part of putting down the book and saying Sorry. I. Maybe we can also say put down the phone.
“…being given yet another day/ to sing on planet earth.” Such a beautiful line! All the poems are lovely! The imagery of the fog and the tree and the blending of the two bespeaks a holy inclusion! Thank you, Melannie for these poems and the terrific song. May we all give thanks that we have been “given yet another day.”
The joyous celebration of all in Tanzania was a powerful call to the solidarity that faith in Christ and in one another can bring.
Revelation? Yes, that’s why I walk my 4 miles every other day in the woods. It’s me and God.
Beautiful reflection for today following the birth of John the Baptist and looking forward to the birth of our Lord Jesus! In fact, Happy Leon!
Today, June 25 is known as Leon Day, six months before Christmas and Leon is Noel spelled backwards.
Sitting by the waters edge and the sun was making a path right to me and no matter where I moved the sun made a path right to me I thought about God’s Son doing the same thing.
Its always a good Monday to read poetry like this! Thank you!
Reminds me of one of my favorite poems:
Be like the bird who, pausing in her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings, knowing she hath wings.
The images in the poems resonate with me. I too often write about such things in nature. I never feel a gentle breeze nor hear a violent wind that I don’t sense the presence and the power of God that constantly surrounds me. Such sights and sounds in nature always invoke a prayer in me. Thanks, Sr Melanie because in you I believe I have found a kindred spirit.
Every morning my husband and I sit on our back porch with our doggies on our laps and marvel at the sounds and sights of nature. It’s so quiet you can almost here the flutter of butterfly wings. I’m “overwhelmed” every time I watch a caterpillar spin it’s chrysalis or emerge into the world as a beautiful monarch. God reveals himself to me in the caterpiller’s willingness to die to self in the hope of a new and better life. Give me the faith of a butterfly, Lord, and the devotion of a faithful dog.
I loved the poems and the music videos!
Good Monday Morning Sister Melannie,
Gorgeous! Like the gift of those MN sunrises and the happy carefree birds surrounding our home.
Thank you, thank you.
Wonderful way to begin the day. From diamonds and dolphins on the bay. To sounds of robins singing. Followed by fog hugging the tree. Then watching my Robin building her nest on my deck as her mate watches from afar. Thank you,God.
In the homily of today’s Mass we were reminded that Jesus held his listeners spellbound by the simplest images, often of nature. He felt no need to prove or defend anything about himself or his Father, only asking for a sense of wonder. Why do we need to ask for anything more?
Every one touches my heart. I love to see all of the creatures that God has made. Every one is so beautiful and the closer I can come to Jesus the more beautiful they become. Thank you for all you are doing. You are helping us in so many ways. Blessed are you and thank you.
Sr. Melanie: I loved the film on Tanzania. It made me cry to see so much love given to these children in so many ways. The song was just beautiful and fit the pictures shown perfectly. Thank you for all you do for humanity and for being an inspiration to all of us who subscribe to you. May God bless you with love and health.
I loved your poem “I Pray Facing the Window”. It reminded me so much of some of my directees. Would it be okay for me to copy it and share it with them?
Yes, Wanda, you may copy this poem. Thank you! Melannie
“Sorry, Book. Sorry, Holy Words. Sorry, Finely Crafted Phrases.” Yes, this speaks to me, and powerfully! Was it Ralph Waldo Emerson who said something along the lines of “Roses don’t go around quoting one another” or “making reference to their predecessors”? Every once in a while we do have to dismiss the words, for a time, and immerse ourselves, baptize ourselves, in the stream of Life Itself!
What a wonderful way to begin morning meditation! Thank you for this blessing.
I’m Overwhelmed!!! That’s what God does.