Devotional Poetry: You’re Invited to a Community Bardic Exercise

Kate BrunnerLet the creative word romp begin!  Our exercise will be simple, yet challenging. I invite you to write one devotional poem per day for the next seven days about whatever moves you spiritually that day in whatever poetic format the words emerge.

Your goal for the next seven days is to let loose a little- step into the creative flow and allow your Bardic Soul to speak. What we will not be going for is perfect, publication-ready material. I know whenever I undertake something like this, I have to remind myself of that. And I have to muzzle that horribly devious little fellow known as my Inner Critic in order for my Courageous Bard to spring free.

Poetry is the creative form which attempts to capture in words and sound the mystery which lies beyond language. We are all capable of writing poetry.

~from Priestess of Avalon, Priestess of the Goddess by Kathy Jones~

Look for divine poetic inspiration in any and everything around you during next week. Step with intention through your days. Let the whole world sing to you. Dance with language- FEEL it move you! Do not bludgeon yourself with repeated editing. Write, share, and be brave enough to let it be.

If you’re having a hard time getting started, try picking either a theme for the week/day or a form for the week/day. Try telling yourself something like “I’m going to write about apples this week,” or “I’m going to write haiku this week.”  Sometimes giving yourself a bit of structure will open the way. HOWEVER– give yourself permission to deviate from that structure if you find yourself moved to later in the week.

Also– it is perfectly ok if you write a poem and hate it or think it’s awful. Sometimes we have to move through the awful to get to the other side– it can be a vital part of the creative journey. If you’ve ever read Julia Cameron, this is the idea behind her Morning Pages exercise. Sometimes we have to get that stuff out first, like skimming the broth of our Creative Cauldron. If you write a poem and hear yourself saying something like “This is: (insert self-degrading adjective here- horrid, cheesy, garbage, etc.)” try repeating the following mantra “(Insert the same adjective here) is creative too.” a few times. Then let go, get a good night’s rest and move on to tomorrow’s poem.

I invite you to please feel free to post your poems here on this post each day for the next seven days. I will share my work too! I like doing this because it keeps me accountable for my work during the exercise. I also like the perspective it gives me on the poem. Sometimes after posting it, I see something in it I did not see before. All readers are welcome to contribute, whatever their personal faith tradition. I also encourage you to feel free to share your thoughts, frustrations, creative processes, etc. here too.  Cheerlead yourself, ask for support, encourage each other, etc.

Most of all—flow.


Here is my first poem to share with you, today:


Today I bore witness to the bittersweet kiss
of sky-born tears
meeting scorched earth
Where three days prior, raging tongues
of flame consumed every
blade of parched and brittle grass.

Today, speckled trees- survivors- spread wide
roots in black, black chardness and
turned dazed and bleary leaf bits towards
too long absent gray, soft, dark
unmistakable rumbles that brought
past and future to wet, ecstatic present.

Blessed be the rain.


I look forward to sharing creative sacred space with you, my fellow Courageous Bardic Souls!


Kate Brunner is a writer, healer, ritualist, & member of The Sisterhood of Avalon, studying at the Avalonian Thealogical Seminary. She is an American expat, living in Queensland, Australia and homeschooling her children, with the world as their classroom. Before motherhood, Kate earned a Bachelor of Arts from Tulane University, while studying Economics, International Relations, & Religion. She served four years as a logistics officer in the US Army, after which, Kate became a doula and holistic birth educator.  She is a regular contributor to The Sisterhood of Avalon’s online journal, The Tor Stone and is active in the Red Tent Movement. Kate volunteered in Houston as a presenter for monthly Red Tents and semi-annual women’s retreats before relocating overseas. She enjoys international travel, perfecting her cooking, reading great books, & having fascinating conversations with friends, old or new.

Author: Kate M. Brunner

Kate M. Brunner is a writer, healer, ritualist, & member of The Sisterhood of Avalon. She is a resident of Heartwood Cohousing & a homeschooling mother of three. She holds a BA from Tulane University, where she studied Economics, International Relations, & Religious Traditions. Kate hosts seasonal women’s gatherings, priestesses labyrinth rituals, and facilitates workshops on an assortment of women’s spirituality topics. During 2017, she will present at the SOA’s annual online conference, AvaCon, & at the second annual Ninefold Festival in Colorado. She is also published in Flower Face: A Devotional Anthology in Honor of Blodeuwedd and The Goddess in America: The Divine Feminine in Cultural Context.

58 thoughts on “Devotional Poetry: You’re Invited to a Community Bardic Exercise”

  1. Ok, you asked for it- bad poetry Ahoy!

    Meditation 1
    Wind shivers the branches
    of the old maple tree
    tumble down yellow-brown
    leaves, suspended slowly by
    autumn breaths.
    Husked summer shells drop
    on my black asphalt driveway.
    What is this sound?
    Leather slippers’ shuffled step.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been telling myself for a couple weeks that it’s time to write a new poem. Trouble is, I’m so obsessive and such a perfectionist that I haven’t worked up to verse yet. Here’s the beginning of a rough draft:

    Is She hiding in the fog of dawn?
    Singing with the doves hiding in the trees?
    Will She arise arise from the sea
    or come through the clouds with the sun?
    Or is She merely hidden in the fog
    of my early-morning mind?

    well, it’s a start, anyway. I’ve already edited it, and I haven’t even clicked on Post yet.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. crone whispers come
    on the rustling of falling leaves.
    her gnarled and twisted fingers
    beckon from the bare branches.
    her dark, quiet cavern
    calling me home.
    her chilled breath
    settling into the bones of the earth…

    my bones.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a lovely invitation and such beautiful responses. Here’s a haiku that came earlier today.

    in answer to my prayer for a talismanic sign

    cupped inside brown hands
    clear water catching the light
    and a smooth white stone

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Halloween

    How rich their hearts,
    those beggars with mischievous eyes —
    tattered gypsies and pirates,
    bedecked with fine jewels made of paste
    and in their scabbards, plastic swords

    I wrote a draft for this tanka some years ago…thanks for the chance to edit and dust it off, and share it here!! I’m not sure I can fulfill six more days of poems however!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. As my father lies dying
    I reflect on the falling autumn leaves
    Everything fading
    Everything fading away
    Trees falling asleep
    Will awaken in spring
    But, where will my father be then?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Kate! You’re brilliant! This sounds fun (and a little daunting)! Here’s poem number 1…

    The Crone Within

    Seeking you in plastic domes
    when I sing your ancient tomes.
    Neon skulls and pumpkins lack
    with white sutures etched in black.

    All your teeth on display
    What do your empty sockets say?

    a crone in hiding
    strong back bending
    face downcast
    woman passed…

    Dark eyes upon me stay.
    What news do you share today?

    In triple voice she says to me,
    “Trust what your inner eye does see
    for we live within your heart
    and from there we shan’t depart.”

    Then those empty sockets dim
    but Her spirit is within.
    On my way I go again
    fearing not the bogeymen.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Fantastic! Keep going with it! I can’t wait to watch the collection of spontaneous devotional poetry grow!

    It’s so interesting to see the strong influence of Autumn right now for those of you in the Northern Hemisphere. Here everything is in bloom because we are eyeball deep in Spring. I’ll be back to add another day’s poem later today. If you miss a day, don’t stress. Just pop back in and add another poem when it comes.

    Also feel free to share this post and encourage others to join us!


  9. Prayer After the Synod

    Take words with you
    And return to God,
    Says Hosea. But where
    Do women take their words?

    Their tongues are stilled.
    Their lips have been sealed.
    They are outside.

    To be silenced is
    To be sent to a sacred
    Space. And there
    God dwells.

    Dawn Morais


    1. The Marian Way

      To listen. To accept.
      To pay attention.
      To embrace godliness.
      To make flesh the word.

      To ponder things
      In her heart. To act.
      To trust her son

      To work a miracle
      To save a wedding
      Feast. Give us wisdom.
      Give us words.


  10. Driving by the pumpkin patch
    orange field of unsold squash.
    Today’s jack-ne’er-be-lanterns
    are tomorrow’s pumpkin pies.


  11. black cat song

    sometimes you have to be a cat
    to curl into the lap of the one you love

    in another life you might have been
    a mated pair of the same kind

    loving and fighting and breeding
    but what is that to this?

    a slow-blinking look, a hand stroking
    black fur, a low resonant purr


  12. “workout weather”

    shorts fun work done
    barefoot run toes numb

    in the park okay today
    spicy hot pepper spray

    circuit training breath caught
    moon rising water brought

    wind tearing cold face
    feet falling quicken pace

    turn round go home
    greet purple garden gnome

    slow down take stance
    rest listen yoga trance

    heart beat
    nice slow

    stretch breathe
    let go

    watch stars
    climb high



    1. Love the purple garden gnome. With this, and your other poems too, you get so much power out of just a few words per line. Masterful! er, Croneful!


  13. Yesterday it was haiku and today I tried a cinquain. It does help to have a structure. With these short ones, it seems easier to get started.

    Growing old
    Crowned with Wisdom
    Becoming Luminous with Age


  14. Last football game of the season
    the crunch of interlocking shoulder pads
    a referee whistle, announcer sharing score updates
    Cheerleaders forming human pyramids
    Dance line snapping high kicks
    Marching band resplendent in military regalia
    purple flags swooshing and woorshing to a symphonic beat.
    My youngest son’s attention is captured
    by the pageantry of small bats darting
    silently above our heads
    their aerial acrobatics illumed
    by stadium lights.


    1. Love the bats. They are reality; existing, continuing beyond the false (but fun) activities we create. Your poem is such a treat!


  15. Here’s yesterday’s first draft (today’s will probably be done tonight):

    Past Peak

    Focus on the bare treetops
    Or on the color still beneath?
    Instead I compose pictures
    As a burning bush aligns
    With a reddish oak and an ash,
    Its yellow shouting to be seen.
    Leaves underfoot
    Or sky above?
    Old oaks burn crimson today,
    Bronze tomorrow,
    Then brown and gray.

    Great idea, Kate.


  16. Table Space

    smooth woman bowl
    dancing woman bowl
    pillar man candle
    cone man incense

    add to the mix
    one who seeks
    love and hope
    from divinity

    listen well
    wash away the world
    and you can taste
    spiritual nourishment
    what divinity reveals
    through the light
    in the smoke
    the answers dance

    smooth woman bowl
    dancing woman bowl
    pillar man candle
    cone man incense


  17. Mother’s Little Helper

    He asks me, “Why do you plant tulip bulbs every year?
    Why do you bother?”
    After five months of grays and browns, black and blues
    I’ll find my gaudly redemption in
    Scarlet red, golden yellow, lustrous orange and kitten-nose pink.


  18. @Katherine Bressler (because I can’t figure out how to get my comment under your most recent poem):
    there is a tradition among some First Nations tribes that when someone says something very powerful and meaningful it is greeted with silence. I wish I had a silence icon, because I would insert it here ” “.


  19. “Sky Dance”

    The moon rises
    to meet the stars. Grasshoppers
    leap over the blades, around
    the towering dandelions. Venus
    joins the moon for the evening
    pow wow. Trees anchored
    in the dirt send
    their leaves to sky dance.


  20. This is a terza rima poem called “Harvest.”

    Juniper berries,
    truly not berries at all,
    dry in prairies.

    Shorter days in fall
    when farms and fields we harvest.
    Hear the crows call.

    Vacant brown bird’s nest.
    Cold wind whistles ’round the house.
    Sun sets south west.

    Searching meadow mouse
    gathers up the last cherries.
    Pointers hunt grouse.


  21. Sorrow Singer’s hymn to the sun

    here you are again, bright in my dim eyes
    here I am standing to greet you,
    unable to curse you, unable to curtail
    my joy. When you clear the rim
    of the dark ridge, my sorrows fly
    a small flock of dark birds, and I forget
    for a moment this moment will not last
    I remember for a moment this moment
    will come again. Is light at the end of night
    reason enough for a heart, my heart, to beat?

    note: Sorrow Singer is one of the narrative voices in a work-in-progress called Tales and Tails.


  22. (not exactly devotional, but you said ‘frustration’ was ok too)

    Listening to the community’s new
    golden boy scholar or
    a routine dental exam?
    Both require jaw-dropping
    but the dental exam is less excruciating.


  23. You are all doing so fabulously! I am very proud of you. I am traveling in New Zealand & have limited connectivity, but will continue to read and share when I can!


  24. a tanka for October

    grey morning, late fall
    wind bearing rain unfallen
    clouds and leaves a-swirl
    some trees bare, some bright orange
    ravens and poets give voice


  25. Morning Walk

    Only acres of grassland
    twenty-seven years ago
    Now I follow a tall tree-lined path
    from back fence to mailbox in front
    reminded of castle gardens
    at Versailles and Schoenbrun
    It is my private park
    in drought-ridden California
    I am blessed


  26. The best magic is mindreading.
    For this amazing feat I require two things;
    One- A pen with which I will write
    Two- my reader who will decipher my words
    There you have it ladies and gentlemen!
    The ability to read minds of all persons,
    living or dead, as long as
    they remembered
    the pen.


  27. Ode to the Goddess (a little late to the creative romp but definitely devotional . . .)

    I am the Queen of Sheba, more beautiful than all the rest.

    I am the night-hag, more terrible then your worst fears.

    Don’t try to hold me still.

    Things change,

    Time moves,

    The coins on my hip girdle ring – like bells – as I move between the worlds.

    Listen for me . . .


  28. Haiku

    great horned owl calls out
    who cooks for you, in moonlight
    lady bard answers

    I have really enjoyed this sharing. Thank you Kate for the idea, and everybody for participating. You’ve brightened my week. :)


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