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Below are the poems shared with us by Carolyn Foster at the 2009 DLC Annual Meeting:

Across the Doorsill

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep!
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep!
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.  The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep!

   Rumi, versions by Coleman Barks and Robert Bly
                             Night and Sleep


There is a small green island
Where one white cow lives alone,
A meadow of an island.
The cow grazes until nightfall, full and fat
But during the night she panics
And grows thin as a single hair:
“What shall I eat tomorrow?
There’s nothing left!”

By dawn the grass has grown up again waist-high
The cow starts eating and by dark
The meadow is clipped short.
She’s full of strength and energy
But she panics in the darkness as before
And grows abnormally thin overnight.
The cow does this over and over for many years
And this is all she does.
She never thinks, “This meadow has never failed to grow back!
Why should I be afraid every night that it won’t?”

The cow is the bodily soul
The island field is this world
Where that grows lean with fear
And fat with blessing, lean and fat.
White cow, don’t make yourself miserable
With what’s to come or not to come.

                   Jelaluddin Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks



A Ritual to Read to Each Other

If you don’t know the kind of person I am
And I don’t know the kind of person you are
A pattern that others made may prevail in the world.
And following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
A shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
Sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
Storming out to play through the broken dike.

And as elephants parade holding each elephant’s tail,
But if one wanders the circus won’t find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
To know what occurs but not recognize the fact.

And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
A remote important region in all who talk:
Though we could fool each other, we should consider –
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.

For it is important that awake people be awake,
Or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
The signals we give – yes or no, or maybe –
should be clear:  the darkness around us is deep.

William Stafford, The Way It Is


I said to my soul, be still, and let the darkness come upon you,
Which shall be the darkness of God…

I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope of the wrong thing; wait without love
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.  

          T.S. Eliot
          from “East Coker” in Four Quartets



I will not die an unlived life
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
more accessible.
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance;
to live
so that what came to me as seed,
goes to the next as blossom.
and that which came to me as blossom
goes on as fruit.

Dawna Markova


Everyone should be born into this world happy
    and loving everything.
But in truth it rarely works that way.
For myself, I have spent my life clamoring toward it.
 Halleluiah, anyway I’m not where I started!

And have you too been trudging like that, sometimes
   almost forgetting how wondrous the world is
    and how miraculously kind some people can be?
And have you too decided that probably nothing important
is every easy?
Not, say, for the first sixty years.

Halleluiah, I’m sixty now, and even a little more,
And some days I feel I have wings.

Mary Oliver, Evidence

Carolyn Foster

Dominican Leadership Conference

Building relationships and collaborating in the mission of preaching the Gospel
29000 West Eleven Mile Road
Farmington Hills MI 48336
248-536-3234 Contact: Executive Director