Companion Poetry to CTS Exhibit

Welcome to the Online Poetry Companion for
Layer by Layer: Unearthing She at Columbia Theological Seminary.
Click on the title of art below to take you
to the companion poem for the piece of art you are viewing:
A Dream of Her Own
A New Dawn
Angels Know of Her Mystery
Bridge Dweller
Holder of the Cosmos
I Know You, I See You
Mother of the Deep
She Speaks Golden Abundance
She Pilgrim
She Walks On
She Who Sees with Eyes of Compassion
Sisters of the Thread
Soul Mama
Tears of Baptism
The Rising
Vigilant Reception
Wearing Eden
Wild Reverence

A Dream of Her Own

There I stand in the pulpit —
I preach of God’s grace and love.
I try not to get my hands dirty, but
the confined, sacred habit unleashes.
Dualistic questions collide,
shadow desires to claim her piece of holy.

Sleep comes easy as darkness descends,
the moon lit with a whisper.
Soul warriors polish luna gently, doing
precious work as seeds are laid.
Protection is given, the howl
of the wolf placed deep within.

Outside the church entry,
atoms of ash float glitter in open air.
Light shimmers from breezy leaves,
stardust drifts through the expanse.
Holy goodness streams boundless.
My world changes to color,
visions of collaboration dance.

Awakening, my spirit sails, an
idea of creative worth given
in the space of silence.
Words birth and colors wash
an aesthetic unfolding, my
body beams rays of cadence.

The song of love lures,
lyrical nectar flows through —
call her Inner Knowing, call her Spirit,
vast mystery welcomed to the table.
Her vibration radiates golden truth;
she hums sweet blessed freedom.

Loneliness leaves as I embark on
the organic road my ancestors walked.
Chains of status release.
I move forward untethered,
received fully into a dream of my own.

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A New Dawn

Morning breaks,
butter honey lights the sky,
pushes up through darkness,
gives way to growth.

A new dawn is here —
a daybreak of baby giggles.

It’s taken thousands of paces
to arrive to this day—
the soil tilled,
the seeds planted,
the rain fallen,
the sun shone.

Patience is the lesson.
Growth can’t be rushed.
This, a key to return to
again and again; to nurture
the unseen. Ignite hope
for impending bounty.

At last,
today has arrived —
a colorful display of all you’ve sown.
Blooms burst open,
flowers don their colored cape,
vibrancy framed by a veil of ribbons.

There is no denying:
The life is upon you,
within you, around you.

The grace you hold is evident.
Tending your garden has produced a gift.

Receive this present as yours.
Hold the flowers.
Smell their essence.
Delight in the
mystery of their making.
Celebrate your devotion.

It’s necessary to breathe in
and honor the work you’ve partaken in.

When you are ready,
take note that you can’t keep
this goodness to yourself.
You must sow it to others.

Share the harvest that is yours.
Plant seeds of love.

Life is reciprocity.
A give and take.

The engagement of your heart
leads to a generative life.

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Angels Know of Her Mystery

The angels know of my mystery.
I touch the earth with my toes,
the cosmos with my crown.

I am
Mother
Mama
Mary
Magdelene

I am
Wisdom
Eve
Ruach
Sophia

I am
Revelation herself with
a coronet of twelve stars

I hold the child on my lap,
a symbol of life giving force.
I hold all children in the palm of my hand,
a symbol of my deep, wide love.

For those who have eyes, let them see.

The angels are with me,
their smirk is for secrets we share,
the wily nature of my unearthing.

They’ve been waiting
thousands of years for my resurrection,
for the time when life bearing force
arises as the counterpoint of crucifixion,
when creative heart
has a seat at the table.

I tell you.
I have risen. In all my glory.
I am prophecy, power, peace.
I am gathering, belonging, vulnerability.
I am here.

For those who have ears,
let them hear.

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Bridge Dweller

Please don’t refer to me as “logical”
as if logic is a hindrance.
I’m not a human robot who goes
through the same motions each day.
Yes, I’ve been known to organize.
I’ve made lists, tended to details.
My brain can work out
the change at a register.
But, please don’t assume
my structure boxes me in.
I may have discipline.
I may keep to a routine.
But this doesn’t define
all of who I am.

Please don’t refer to me as “creative”
as if creativity is a hindrance.
I’m not a lightweight woman who wisps
unreasonable dreams into the clouds.
Yes, I’ve been known to be whimsical.
I’ve colored out of the lines, been wooed by words.
My heart can link deep into
where mystery dances.
But, please don’t assume
my imagination is untamed.
I may plant rainbows.
I may stoke good ideas,
But this doesn’t define
all of who I am.

Will you place the infinity lens
on your eyes? That which guides you
to see me as the Bridge Dweller.
When you recognize me as “Both/And,”
you’ll sway with my bend.
I am bamboo in the breeze,
back and forth I move,
a stronghold when
the storm comes.
I am the one who
holds the key
to shift stale patterns.
I am the link between structure and creativity,
the one who carries you
across the traverse.

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Holder of the Cosmos

You, a woman of the stars
eyes not on the things of this world —
a vision for all colors, a hunger for the
wholeness of humanity, an ache
for the sacred ordinary.

Now you know —
you hold the universe
in the palm of your hand, you
a child of the cosmos

a girl of heart, of Spirit, of mystery

Let all your emotion move you
toward the action of healing.
Experience unease and draw near.
The full breadth of life awaits.
Your voice is needed.

Look up —
notice the stardust floating
all around, a cosmic unfurling of
vibrancy sparkles in your midst

capture the gleam, listen for glitter, whisper your wish

True, you will fall, aspects of
self carved away. Do not fear.
Be gentle with the process.
You will be revived, all this,
the cycle of life-death-life

Over there —
fragile new life, too
about to be birthed, dust
rising from the ash

precious golden eggs of life, dreams about to hatch

No need to hide your zest any longer,
to be ashamed of joy. Feel
your bubble of vibrancy. Erupt
in waves of bliss. Take back your life.
Let it be so.

Glance within —
a vast galaxy of love
ready to spin, open
to the rush

twirl the twinkle, whirl the whizzles

You do not go alone.
I flow from the middle to the edges.
I spark easy, move like water
I am weightless Spirit air. Yes,
three-in-one weaves through all.

Here I am —
your personal cosmic helper,
my star bursts with love
for passionate you

holder of magic, singer of devotion

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I Know You, I See You

Dear One,
I know what it’s like
to be forgotten about,
covered over, washed out.
But, honey, we both know
I haven’t disappeared.
No matter
how hard they’ve tried
to erase the memory,
my story remains.

I am the Black Madonna,
the mother of night.
The one who ventures into
the darkness with you.

You, my dear,
have not been forgotten.
I know you, I see you.
I’m in the night skies with you,
pointing to the mother moon,
whispering stories to your ears.

Can you feel your heart flame
as you re-member me, the Sacred Mother.
I’m a witness to you. One who encourages
and lights your path with crystal glint.

I love you.
I am love and compassion for your path.
My hands hold the power of goodness.
Let’s tell one another’s stories.
We are stronger together.
You may feel as if you’ve been forgotten,
as if your imprint has been erased, but I assure you,
your steps are strong.
You cannot be erased.

Look into my eyes.
See me, seeing you.
Knowing you.

Don’t you see?
Don’t you know?

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Mother of the Deep

The virginal quality is hard to resist —
the bright shine, the colorful glow,
the gleam of adventure
ready to burst from within

Her innocence drips charm
toward those who want to form her anew

Yet, the purity she carries is not naivety,
nor is it ignorance to the ways of the world

Trust me, her nature
leads her to sniff like a wolf,
to see with the eyes of a hawk,
clever ideas spin in her dreams

The path winds, the road travels hard,
her blood pulses rich as new life beats within.

The trek takes her deeper, darker —
into the resources of herself. Sleeping,

shadows of her body wrap warm
around crevices of light. Waking, she
cradles the pain and joy together,
embraces the twins of her interior.

The womb heartbeat nourished
in the dark reaches of mystery.

Ripened wings move through the canal of life
to their expansion of flight.

Her spellbinding quality leads some to resist
her low vibration, her auric glow,
her inner knowing she
holds close to her heart. Still,

she becomes the mother of her children.

she becomes the mother of all children.

she becomes the mother of herself.

Still,

she sends the dove of peace to fly through the world.

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She Speaks Golden Abundance

Beautiful,
your vision began long before
you were made aware.
Your dream started when
the touch of sacred golden divinity
breathed your form.
It carried on when the tending
of Loving Creator
poured grace on your wounds.
It seemed, at times, your sight was
misdirected, plugged up, shaded.
Yet, now you know,
all this was part of the abundance.
Now you know, your vision can’t be stopped.
You are the water that flows
around the resistance. You’ve woven
thread through the torn places, stitched
up the patchwork to cover yourself in
something stunning. But now it is time
for you to uncover, fold up
your rainbow quilt and boldly go.

You, one of the senses,
one of ordinary beauty,
will slow like molasses
to see (see) your beloveds.
You will hone your intuitive whiskers
to quiet and listen (listen)
for that which they silently carry in their hearts.
You will raise your voice
and speak (speak) bold and passionate
for art, intention and feminine beauty.
You will feel (feel) the energy and
move others from a circle of how
to a circle of heart.
You will heal (heal) the divide
with sparks of word and image,
prayer and guidance.
You will smell (smell) the aroma
of prosperity to give and receive,
give and receive, enough for all.
You will taste (taste) the abundance
of the sacred chalice, one dipped in the
heavenly flow to bless the path
you sow.
You will honor (honor) those who’ve
come before you and travel the road
of the red thread with love and intention.

It is your time to go.
Be kind in the face of rejection.
Be brave in the width of connection.
Be grounded in Holy Love.

So be it.

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She Pilgrim

Dear Love,
There is no one route to the destination of a thriving life. To get through the sacred door of transition, you must follow the signposts along the way.

There’s no need to worry or fret about what will or won’t happen –
put your energy into the next slice of goodness that unfolds.

It takes many steps and years of practice to learn the nuances of life — responding, loving, peacemaking — don’t lose heart.

Each move you make toward the light unlocks the bowl of golden abundance.

When you follow the sacred map where many paths are welcome –
you’ll see that it connects you to the whole world, it helps you love the world, it gives you eyes to see that everything is evolving and transitioning.

You are called to move with the flow.

The pilgrim is one who sees and hears, gives and loves and keeps walking the road.

When she follows the mystery, it all comes back in bounty.

You are the pilgrim.

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She Walks On

Others may look at you
and see an ordinary woman.
But, you know better than that.
You know you have
fire in your veins,
the breath of Spirit
in your lungs.
You know you have
sight for the sacred details,
the strength of sunlight
coursing through your bones.
You’ve battled the waves
and let the waves
move you to their
rhythm of grace.
You are the
spirited voyager.
You are the one
who takes all
that has come
her way, gathers
it into a bundle
and asks the
imperative question,
What can I do with this
hodgepodge of a story?
You believe nothing goes to waste.
You sew and you glue,
you paint and you glitter,
you scrub and you laugh.
You tend to the ordinary
listening for the breeze
that leans in close and
says, “This way.”
Then, you take your
rainbow tale
and you walk on.
You cross over
to something new.
You honor the grief and
claim the goodness and
step again toward
the risky adventure because
the heart of mystery
is what the spirited
voyager follows

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She Who Sees with Eyes of Compassion

Hello, dear one.
I’m here to place your wings upon you.
I will be gentle, I promise.
Easy now, they can feel heavy at first.

Listen, you don’t need to try so hard.
Let wind Spirit carry you.
Let heron lift your veil.
This shifting of self and sight
is your gift and your sadness.

As you rise to fly, tears will fall.
This is to be expected. Now you see —
the heartache in the world,
in your community, in your home.

Keep to your practice.
Creative process is your breath,
your “harmless” space.
Shielding brings you back to center.

Your adventure is the marrow of now.
Make space to say, “Yes”. Sing!
Notice the beauty of every day.
This is what you must do to ground yourself.

Go, see with eyes of love and compassion
for a hurting world. Take
the fire of passion with you,
fire for women, for children, for outsiders.

Beat your drum slow and quiet,
bang your drum hard and loud. Take
your rhythm into the world. Go,
tap (those with ears to hear) awake.

Ask them to come, come
back to themselves, to
their creative nature.
Let transformation be the center.

Feast at the table of abundance.
Be the light for those who flicker dull.
Listen to your inner compass.
Give yourself over

to all the emotion that comes with this ride.
Have no shame.
Show compassion to yourself,
share it with your beloveds.

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Sisters of the Thread

The ancient women sat together,
a stitch of red thread through
the sacred temple veil,
a weave of mythic tales
whispered to one another.

A song chanted

Pass the thread, pass the thread.
ooooo, la, la
Come together, come together.
ooooo, la, la
Claim your voice, claim your voice.
Give the blessing, Give the blessing.
ooooo, la, la

Passed into the hands of
great-great-great grandmothers,
sewers of quilts to warm small children
with slow breath, a lace
of laughter through each fiber.

Pass the thread, pass the thread.
ooooo, la, la
Come together, come together.
ooooo, la, la
Claim your voice, claim your voice.
Give the blessing, Give the blessing.
ooooo, la, la

Slid into wrinkled hands
of the feminine, maker of flags
for the love of her nation,
a prayer of peace
blessed into the future wave.

Pass the thread, pass the thread.
ooooo, la, la
Come together, come together.
ooooo, la, la
Claim your voice, claim your voice.
Give the blessing, Give the blessing.
ooooo, la, la

Accepted by a flock of aunties
who clicked, knit, purl, knit
and clack, clacked their rosy lips
about secrets of women
that began at the edge of time

Pass the thread, pass the thread.
ooooo, oh, oh
Come together, come together.
ooooo, oh, oh
Claim your voice, claim your voice.
ooooo, oh, oh
Give the blessing, Give the blessing.
ooooo, oh, oh


Received into my mother’s needle,
she who crafted those small x’s into
a masterpiece of embroidery,
her love deliberately sown
into each winter’s stitch.

Pass the thread, pass the thread.
ooooo, la, la
Come together, come together.
ooooo, la, la
Claim your voice, claim your voice.
Give the blessing, Give the blessing.
ooooo, la, la

(now) I’m handed the red thread
in the bowl of my palm,
tiny fibers twisted,
a ball of possibility. Here,
I reconnect with me.

I wrap it around my slender wrist,
let it touch my skin,
a visible reformer,
a simmer of voice and knowing,
yeast rising through warm dough.

Pass the thread, pass the thread.
ooooo, la,la
Come together, come together.
ooooo, la, la
Claim your voice, claim your voice.
Give the blessing, Give the blessing.
ooooo,
la, la

I give the skein to my sister,
her and I forever connected by
a cord of blood, yet, with this balm,
we see each other anew,
companions not competitors.

Passed around the circle,
a mixed bag of pilgrims
shoulder to shoulder, their
voices wash away my trepidation,
this, a witness of belonging.

No, the thread cannot be contained,
thrown out to community
where leaders thirst for meaning,
a tool that enhances their clarity and truth,
“I’m overextended. I long for the trees.”

This crimson is woven
through states and countries, an
invisible weave where women
lead sacred formation
in ordinary settings.

Do you see? This scarlet cord
falls from the window and
wraps the wide world
(all the colors of the rainbow)
in a raw love of reception.

This seam is
a channel and holder
of all the stories,
a symbol of
the Divine path woven.

And, still, today,
the ancient women sit together,
they spin, cackle
and chant their song.
Can you hear it?

Pass the thread, pass the thread.
ooooo, la,la
Come together, come together.
ooooo, la, la
Claim your voice, claim your voice.
Give the blessing, Give the blessing.
ooooo,
la, la

I’m a weaver of the thread.
A claimer of the good.
A sharer of the story.

Here,
I pass it to you.
Tell me, will you pass it on?

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Soul Mama

Ya hungry, child?
C’mon, now —
I know yer hungry.
I’beena cook’n all mornin’,
whippin’ us up some DEE-licious food.

Will ya listen to the beat of that jazz?
Mmmmm, mmmmm,

I tell ya,
this sanctuary of good cookin’
only opens fer those who’re
REAL honest with their hunger.

So, tell me, sugar,
what’re ya hungry for?

Listen —
you gotta get real specific
with yer hunger.
Don’t go sayin’ you want greens
when yer achin’ for bacon.

Girl, you need to follow yer hunger,
‘cause when you do, it leads
to the next taste of tangy honey.

You know tangy honey, right?
Nature’s candy that’s been drenched
in sweet bee sting. Sure didn’t come
from no machine, only from the work
of the sacred doing her dance.

Ya hear those chimes?
See how they’re singin’ their song?
Child, you must sing your song.
Not someone else’s. No need
to be afraid to speak your voice.
Yer voice needs to be heard,
your echo calls yer people to you,
the way you came searchin’ fer me.

Mmmmm, hmmmmm.

You have a story to share,
yer own soul food to give to others.

Now, go on,
Cook up summa yer own
scrumptious offerings,
mixed with the fabulous concoction
only you’ve got. When it’s abeen
brewin’ for a while, you dip yer
spoon into that pot.

First, taste summa what ya made.
Revel in the sensations on yer tongue.
Then, my dear,
pass on the spoon.

Go spread yer flavor.
You’re anointed as a woman with SOUL.
Go in peace.
YOU ain’t alone.

You’ve got the whisper
of the wolf in yer ear,
the wisdom of the owl to lead you,
and the love of yer Soul Mama,
(that’s me)
who’s cookin’ up some
FAN-tastic wonder
by yer side.

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Tears of Baptism

Little Lamb —
You’ve felt lost and afraid. But,
I’ve known where you are all along.

Don’t fret, please know —

When you’re disoriented on the path
and no-one notices your absence,
there I am with you.

When you’re in the forest at night
with coyotes lurking after you,
there I am with you.

When you experience yourself in
a different pasture, away from native land,
there I am with you.

When you leap through the narrow gate
and find a radical vantage point,
there I am with you.

When you, sweet lamb of licorice,
are pressed to the edges of the flock,
there I am with you.

When you feel like you blend in with the rest
and forget your unique beloved marks,
there I am with you.

When the journey makes you
tired with exhaustion and hungry for more,
there I am with you.

The invitation of pilgrimage is to welcome change.
Your new sight is the mark of my love in your life.
Upon your return, there is nothing to apologize for.

I have found you. You have found me.
What joy! Do you feel my embrace?
I delight in being together with you.
The reunion wells my eyes,
tears of baptism shed to
bless you with renewal for your life.

As Divine shimmer washes over both of us,
let us rejoice in the radiance of
making our way through the dark.

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The Rising

Now you know —
the rising cannot be contained!

It’s a balloon floating to the Great Beyond
It’s a motorcycle flying down Route 66
It’s a champagne bottle uncorked

Yes!
This rising moves
in crafty ways—
past stones
beyond walls
through darkness
to a freedom of uninhibited giggles

This rising arrives
in unexpected places—
blooming gardens
along dirt roads
in lofty rooms
where conversation
centers on hope

This rising displays
a powerful truth—
the licorice earth
the ebony womb
the starless tomb
all hold the woven secret
of fresh life formed

Now you know —
this rising is among us, within us,
as a persistent glimmer of Light,
inviting peace in our darkest hour
for the good news we can’t deny:
every difficult passage leads
to a novel beginning

Hear the good news!
Your name whispered
to celebrate this rising
that lives within you

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Vigilant Reception

I sensed your coming
before you took
your first step toward me.

I heard your cry,
I tasted your desire,
I saw your angst.

Welcome, beloved
take a seat
warm your belly.

Rest a while.
Listen. Listen.
Hear the call.

I am the wisdom,
the whisper of your heart.
the intuition nudge.

Welcome, vigilance
step forward
trust the path

Boldly go.
Notice. Notice.
See the beauty.

I am the gardener,
the compost tender,
the flower creator.

Welcome, abundance
gather the goodness
offer freely

Unleash your hands
Sow. Sow.
Bring others along.

I am the seed thrower,
the lavish giver
to all in need.

Welcome, braveheart
speak your piece
wear your interior

You be you.
Color. Color.
Voice the rainbow.

I am ornamentation,
the reflection of your soul,
the image of your radiance.

Welcome, welcome
you have a place here
don’t be afraid.

Love is present.
Trust. Trust.
All shall be well.

I am the North star,
I come beside you
to guide your way.

Welcome, transformation
everything is the same.
everything is different.

Hold the thread.
Connect. Connect.
We are one.

I am the baptism of new life,
plunge deep,
believe in your knowing.

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Wearing Eden

I’m here to awaken the sleeping.
Those who slumber deep,
“Wake up! It’s time to arise.”

Come, come—
Follow me to the garden of living.
Smell the damp earth,
the smoky air of what waits to be rebirthed.
Luscious lavender tickles your nose.
Serendipitous sunflower waves hello.
Can you sense the invitation?
I spark wishes, blaze the desire within.
There is no need to be ashamed.
I will show you how to wear Eden.
Let me drape vibrant life upon you.
I won’t place anything ill-fitting upon you.
Sacred ordinary moments wait to be hatched.
Are you ready to connect with holy desire?
Take my hand. Allow me to open your eyes
to rays of wonder.

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Wild Reverence

Here I am. Surprised?
You didn’t expect Barbie, did you?

Here I stand,
fearless warrior
jewel-toned diva
sexy sacred
critic muse
dark light

A bold declaration of
your integrated self
I’m fully aware of
all the pieces
you’ve kept small,
tried to hide,
withered yourself
down to
nearly nothing

Listen, there is
No. More. Hiding.
Your pious self is quaint and lovely—
but hell, it sure isn’t all of you.
I’ve witnessed
your salty, clever,
badass, rebel self.
And, I love it.

Why be some watered down
version of yourself
showing the sweet, good girl
while hiding your wit,
your fierce power,
your sensual self?
I’m so damn sick of sweet.
Too much sweet rots the interior.
You must rethink holy—
isn’t light even in the darkness?

Are you afraid? Why?
You have creative sparks.
You see my access —
IT IS REAL
my liquid ears
my breezy eyes
my earthy voice
my magic aura
my secret knowing

I am the portal
drawing you in
to the desire I hold,
the laughter I create,
the spark I emit.

I am the freedom
leading you to
sing a different song,
dance to your rhythm,
frolic with abandon.

I am the risky one
daring you to trust
my way to take you
deeper still into
the place of revelation.

I know you have questions.
Loads of questions. But, look.
You don’t need to understand everything
about the mystery of me.
You simply need to know
I am here.
I am for you.
I am the merger.

The invitation is at your door—
A party entirely for you
to step into your full sparkle power.

Shall I grab the glitter?

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