as imbolc unfolds

I love the work I do weekly writing inside Vermont’s women’s prison. The women in our circle never cease to amaze me with their knowledge and their wisdom; their willingness to dive deep; their openness to sharing the most frightened and frightening parts of themselves. In their presence, I too find myself unlayering. The fast-writes we write and share together in our hour-and-a-half circles surprise most of us, most of the time.

This past week, in acknowledgement of February 2 and its many named celebrations – Candlemas, Groundhog Day, Imbolc – we opened the circle with Miriam Dyak’s wonderful poem “Imbolc” (see writinginsideVT’s Poem of the Week.) My first surprise was that one member of our circle, an ardent Buddhist, spoke equally passionately and knowledgeably about the meaning and history of Imbolc. The second was the powerful writing that emerged from every pen around the table in response to the double prompt of Dyak’s poem and selected SoulCards(TM) by Deborah Koff-Chapin.

In honor of the season, I take this opportunity to share two of my own fast-writes during the four hours of two different groups, writing to the same poem and to several different cards. I hope you enjoy them. Perhaps you have your own February 2nd reflections to share, below. I’d love to read them!

credit Deborah Koff-Chapin

credit Deborah Koff-Chapin

TOO FAR EVEN FOR HUNGER
I peer into the depths to see myself

slowly waken, pulse slowed by cold
as my hands hold my heart suspended

for winter’s months to pass into warmth,
bring me fully out of the womb-cave
of darkness, stilled by sleep and reflecting

back to me the lessons learned
from winter visions that long to merge
with the light springing into life.
– swb

credit Deborah Koff-Chapin

credit Deborah Koff-Chapin

I’M ASKING FOR COURAGE, MOTHER
Hold my hand, eyes stumbling into light
from the dark place I have sat so long.
I am blinded by your gentle presence

a glow in this wintry cave of night
its low-arching edge cupping you fetal
around me as at our first birth,

holding guiding me until the time
of release, when I shall go forth
unfurl my own wings sprung into the light.
– swb

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