—a pantoum after Psalm 103, verses 6-16
by Donna Spruijt-Metz (Los Angeles, CA)
by making order—and rituals
and there’s the fear of it.
By making order I am lifted—rites
of YOUR presence—
the fear of it—
the haunting stop
of YOUR presence
gentling me. Time—and yet
I am blindfolded by my hands
as YOU gentle me—time—
the moving into—yet
along the walls of YOUR compassion
the ghost persists, spirits me
along the walls of YOUR compassion—
fumbling YOUR fabled kindness.
I touch it, hungry
as I fumble in YOUR kindness
YOU lift humiliation, my concerns—
peels me fragile,
and dust feels pain.
I remember every desertion,
going to dust
I am dust and dust feels pain
as I fertilize YOUR fields.
I, willful, mourn going to dust.
Wind passes through us all—moves us on.
I bless, fertilize YOUR fields
tonight, light, buoyed.
A few words from the author on the poem “Peel Away to Dust“–
For years, on most Thursday nights I have gathered with a group of friends to study psalms using a process called ‘Lectio Divina,’ borrowed (and morphed) from the traditional Christian monastic practice. Often these musings lead to poems. The repetition in the pantoum form helped me to express my halting approach towards the holy.
Donna Spruijt-Metz is a poet, a psychology professor, and a recent MacDowell Fellow. Her first career was as a classical flutist. She lived in the Netherlands for 22 years and translates Dutch poetry to English. Her poetry and translations appear in Copper Nickel, RHINO, Poetry Northwest, the Tahoma Literary Review, the Inflectionist Review, and elsewhere. Her chapbooks are ‘Slippery Surfaces’ (Finishing Line Press) and ‘And Haunt the World’ (a collaboration with Flower Conroy, Ghost City Press). Camille Dungy (Orion Magazine) chose her forthcoming full length ‘General Release from the Beginning of the World’ (January 2023, Free Verse Editions) as one of the 14 Recommended Poetry Collections for Winter 2022. She gets restless. Her website is https://www.donnasmetz.com/
And here’s a link to Donna’s debut collection, which will be released on January 1, 2023: https://www.amazon.com/General-Release-Beginning-World-Spruijt-Metz/dp/1643173510