Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Holiness / Holy Day

A map of major denominations and religions of the world

"The word "holiday" comes from the Old English word hāligdæg (hālig "holy" + dæg "day").  The word originally referred only to special religious days. "
--"Holiday," Wikipedia

The English word "holy" dates back to at least the 11th century with the Old English word hālig, an adjective derived from hāl meaning "whole" and used to mean "uninjured, sound, healthy, entire, complete". The Scottish hale ("health, happiness and wholeness") is the most complete modern form of this Old English root. . . . In non-specialist contexts, the term "holy" is used in a more general way, to refer to someone or something that is associated with a divine power, such as water used for baptism.
--"Sacred," Wikipedia

"The holidays are only holy if we make them so."

“It is well to have specifically holy places, and things, and days, for, without these focal points or reminders, the belief that all is holy and "big with God" will soon dwindle into a mere sentiment. But if these holy places, things, and days cease to remind us, if they obliterate our awareness that all ground is holy and every bush (could we but perceive it) a Burning Bush, then the hallows begin to do harm.” 

🔥 🔥 🔥

Midweek Motif ~  Holiness
Holy Day

Look at the Interfaith Calendar of World Religions for April 2017. There are so many Holy Days!   And this is not counting Days of Rest. Nor the holidays of First Peoples:  

·        1

o   Lazarus Saturday - Orthodox Christian
·        2
o   Palm Sunday - Orthodox Christian
·        5
o   Ramanavami ** - Hindu
·        9
o   Palm Sunday- Christian
·        10
o   Mahavir Jayanti ** - Jain
·        11
o   Lord's Evening Meal - Jehovah's Witness Christian
o   Hanuman Jayanti - Hindu
·        11-14
o   Theravadin Mew Year ** - Buddhist
·        11-18
o   Pesach (Passover) * - Jewish
·        13
o   Maundy Thursday - Christian
·        14
o   Holy Friday - Orthodox Christian
o   Baisakhi (Vaisakhi) - Sikh
o   Good Friday - Christian
·        16
o   Easter - Christian
o   Pascha (Easter) - Orthodox Christian
·        21
o   First Day of Ridvan * - Baha'i
·        23
o   St. George's Day - Christian
o   Yom HaShoah * - Jewish
·        24
o   Lailat al Miraj * - Islam
·        29
o   Ninth Day of Ridvan * - Baha'i
·        30

o   St. James the Great Day - Orthodox Christian

Maybe you celebrate a Holy day, or maybe you are curious about one you don't celebrate.  Maybe you, like me, hold all days as holy--or maybe no days at all.  My question is:

 What is "Holiness"?  or 

What Makes a Day Holy?

Your Challenge:  Write a new poem about a specific Holy Day or about the concept of Holiness.  

Holy as the Day is Spent

Related Poem Content Details

(Brooklyn, the present day)
. . . . 
As a boy, my old-world aunts and uncles
would weep when I entered the room:
What did I have to do with sadness?
Their cryptic tears
and purse-tucked Kleenex
were my own tantalizing
Hardy Boys case to crack.
Gradually, as a junior detective, I grasped
how much I resembled
an uncle lost in the war,
and like the savvy, querying boy
at the Passover Seder
become a scrupulous man,
an inquisitive reporter,
I set out to track my look-alike’s,
my family’s wartime destiny—
What my father marshaled against,
what my mother endured,
the unspoken, the unspeakable,
became my mission:
though I was born in a venomless
time and suburb,
phantoms, chimeras breathed
in our never-quite-here-and-now house,
secret calendars of fire:
Mother, I dreamed we were
riders on the back of silence,
the wild unsaid beneath us:
horse, whale,
We never spoke of the war.
So with stark reading,
a well-thumbed
Diary of Anne Frank,
I resolved to imagine
pitiless showers,
whips and watchtowers
of brute commanders,
their Gypsy-less, Jew-less,
jerry-rigged heaven.

(Read the Rest HERE.)

The Easter Flower 

by Claude McKay
Far from this foreign Easter damp and chilly
My soul steals to a pear-shaped plot of ground,
Where gleamed the lilac-tinted Easter lily
Soft-scented in the air for yards around;

Alone, without a hint of guardian leaf!
Just like a fragile bell of silver rime,
It burst the tomb for freedom sweet and brief
In the young pregnant year at Eastertime;

And many thought it was a sacred sign,
And some called it the resurrection flower;
And I, a pagan, worshiped at its shrine,
Yielding my heart unto its perfumed power.

Excerpt from At the River Clarion

by Mary Oliver

I don’t know who God is exactly.
But I’ll tell you this.
I was sitting in the river named Clarion, on a water splashed stone
and all afternoon I listened to the voices of the river talking.
Whenever the water struck a stone it had something to say,
and the water itself, and even the mosses trailing under the water.
And slowly, very slowly, it became clear to me what they were saying.
Said the river I am part of holiness.
And I too, said the stone. And I too, whispered the moss beneath the water.

I’d been to the river before, a few times.
Don’t blame the river that nothing happened quickly.
You don’t hear such voices in an hour or a day.
You don’t hear them at all if selfhood has stuffed your ears.
And it’s difficult to hear anything anyway, through all the traffic, the ambition.
. . . . 
(Read the rest HERE)

Please share your new poem using Mr. Linky below and visit others in the spirit of the community—

             (Next week Sumana’s Midweek Motif will be ~ 
A Grain of Sand)


  1. Thank you for another midweek boost - i think the company we keep makes our days special ;)

    1. What a lovely and positive thing to say, Jae Rose! Thank you for keeping company with us here.

  2. Such a lovely prompt! So enjoyed writing my lines.

  3. Thank you for this prompt.Submitting one I wrote for Easter.

  4. Beautiful prompt, Susan. I just closed my eyes and tried to remember what I saw in my trip to Uttarakhand..and jotted down the lines.Hope it makes sense... :)

    1. Totally! It is a great technique. Probably holy.

  5. And I just woke and made my coffee. I can't believe it's already 10am! I wrote my poem before sleeping, and the mood for rest and healing was just right. Now I get to drink in your words. Much love and hope for a wonderful day.

    1. And never have I been so MOVED by a single gathering of poems. It is my morning meditation, all the ups and dons of the terrain these poems lay out to view. Thank you all!

  6. I am just back from a morning out at the beach and doing various errands. Will try to write something before I make the rounds........

    1. Your morning entered your poem ... lucky us!

  7. Apologies for my absence over the past few weeks, Susan. I have been rather caught up with NaPoWriMo. But I will be back in May!❤️ Just had my debut prompt over at Toads. Yay!❤️

    Lots of love,

    1. Congratulations on both. The Toads are a special group of powerful poets! I look forward to your return.

    2. Thank youuuu❤️ and return I shall!❤️

  8. Really enjoyed. Thank you all.

  9. Well, mine is a bit subversive. (Wicked grin.)

  10. Thanks for another lovely prompt Susan
    Happy Thursday to all, hope your Wednesday was good

    much love...

  11. Hello, Susan. Thanks for the prompt. I was looking for a topic and saw the email from Poets United. This is the first time I've linked a post here. I've enjoyed the other poem and they helped me think through the topic for my own.

  12. It's so wonderful to see you here Frank! And what a lovely gift of a poem!


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