Friday, October 30, 2009

Alight in the Dance

Hi, Dina here today. I realize it's nearly October 31st, but instead of trick-or-treating my family will attend the Holy Ghost Weiner Roast. In that spirit, I offer a poem about the Holy Ghost.

Alight in the DanceMatthew 3:11-17 Acts 2:1-3 Revelation 22:17

My soul waits on the wind. Sweep down from on high,
rom mountain peaks descend and through me—flow—
and I will watch the leaves enthralled in dance.
Inspired by your breath they’ll lightly swirlthrough motions, smooth and soft, yet full of life,
enchanted by a spirit so divine.

Oh wind, lend me now your spirit so divine.
Alight me with your dance to soar on high.
Come pour in me your vast consuming life
and let my body now begin to flow
in your hands, on your breath, begin to swirl
and move. Delight, my soul, in the dance.

Like flames that glow and flicker I will dance

within a warming light that feels divine.
Those undulant, soft tongues, I’ve seen them swirl
as they are fanned, within the wind grow high,
and in the coals I’ve watched the molten flow
‘til I’m entranced by such intense and fiery life.

Oh fire, burn me now and fill me with your life
that so intensely moves into the dance.
Melt me until my body pours and flows
in rhythms at once earthy and divine,
and then my soul will fan and flame so high
that I’ll be lost within your rhythmic swirl.

Like rivers strong and coursing we will swirl:
hose rivers that give power and bring life,
 then vaporize and floating up so high 
begin again—the clouds—the raindrop dance 
to wash my upturned face. A gift divine, 
so cool, so sweet, those rivulets will flow.

Oh rain, come now and wash me with your flow. 
And under soothing showers, I will swirl, 
and I will stretch my arms to your divine
 touch upon my turned-up palms, feeling life,
 feeling you, in a wild and watery dance. 
What a rush. What transcendence. What a high!

So spirit, come and flow and grant me life 
that sends my body swirling in the dance
illed with your divine presence from on high.

I hope you enjoyed these portraits of the Holy Spirit as wind, fire, and water. The above poem is a Sestina, a highly structured style of formulaic poetry invented in the 12th century, involving meter and refrain of six carefully chosen words in a preset pattern. You might think a poem is short and easy to write, but in fact, to write a well-crafted poem, it should take weeks. Although I am a great advocate of crafting and revising, I wrote this poem in under one hour and left it as is, unedited for over ten years. The poem has even been published in its virgin state.
So what is my recipe for poetic success, you may ask. First, immerse your self in iambic pentameter, in my case Paradise Lost. Second, bump your head really hard, possibly causing a mild concussion, in the middle of a Superbowl game. Now the Superbowl part is key, since nobody will think to take you to the doctor. Third, retreat to your bedroom and work on a class assignment for Form and Theory of Poetry. Et voila! A winning combination every time :)
My guess is that the bump on the head knocked something loose, leaving me more open to my subconscious, dare I say spirit, than I normally would be. I wanted to share this little story because I think it’s a great example of Christ’s strength being made perfect in my weakness. It's also an example of the beautiful flow of the Holy Spirit mentioned in the poem.
Questions for today: Which symbol of the Holy Spirit do you most appreciate and why?Do you have any funny or serious stories of Christ’s strength being made perfect in your weakness?
Today I am giving away a potpourri scented journal, which you may want to keep handy in case you bang your head and genius strikes. Please leave a comment and your email with spaces around the @ for your protection in order to be entered in the drawing.


  1. Dina,
    Such a poignant, funny, sentimental, vibrant post! Yes, the adjectives are rioting on this blustery, rainy, dark, gloomy morning.

    I LOVE a well-written post enhanced with gorgeous images, especially the dancer aflame!!

    Thanks for popping open the irises~!!!


  2. I think my favorite is... all of them. My understanding of the Holy Ghost is incomplete without one or the other. Love the picture Patti mentioned though of the dancer. Gorgeous and eloquent.

  3. I was very excited to find pictures that really embodied the images in the poem.

    Thanks ladies.


  4. Oh, Dina, your poem was beautiful. And your confession of how to write such beauty was hilarious! You brightened my day with beauty and humor. Thank you.

    I'd hate to bang my head during the Superbowl! I'm a football nut and wouldn't even think of leaving for the ER. Nor would I be in the other room writing such poetic words.

    My favorite symbol of the Holy Spirit was one you didn't mention. The dove. The pure white dove. On the wings of a pure white dove. . . I know Patti will fill in the lyrics of that one!

    I see Christ's strength in my life continually. I am constantly blessed when I feel so undeserving. It always reminds me to keep on keeping on--to keep on trying.

    Have a blessed day and thanks again.


  5. I loved reading your post:) Very nice pictures. Thanks for the post.

    esterried @

  6. Thanks, Charity, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    The dove is a great sybmoly too, Connie, all light and feathery. And clearly, I am not a diehard football fan.


  7. I just discovered your blog...I love it...and it's inspirational...I hope you don't mind if I visit often.

    karen k

  8. Karen, please come back everyday. I do ;)


  9. Yes, Karen, please do come back. We have an awesome theme for next month and several fabulous guest bloggers.

    Great poem, Dina!!!

  10. I like the idea of the Holy Spirit as wind. To me, He is breath, a whisper and when needed--if we allow--he's a strong wind directing our path.

    I live on the lake, and some of you may know I love the ocean. Today is my favorite kind of day. Huge big waves out on the lake, topped with whitecaps and crashing rollers coming onto the shore. I could go out and stand there and just let the wind pummel me. I can't hear anything but the wind. That;s the kind of Holy Spirit I want. Powerful even while invisible. I don't want to mess around, or wonder, I want a good hard push to what I should be doing!

  11. Dina, you have a wonderful gift! I read your poem and by the 3rd verse decided that it was fresh but the same. I'd never read anything like it, so I started at the top and read it again. And then I read the next verse and realized you used the same words. So I went back and checked and then knew it was deliberate. My next thought was wow! how many hours did you spend working that out? But of course, your explanation says you wrote it in under one hour. I say again, Wow! You are gifted.

    I don't attribute any of the symbols with the Holy Spirit although I really like your pics.

    Good work, Dina.

  12. Great thoughts, Deb. Thanks for your input.

  13. Anita, yes, as another poet you did a good job spotting the pattern. That's how a sestina works. It's tricky reusing the same words and phrases but "rocking" them to give a new meaning each time. I also have a villanelle tucked away somewhere called "If I Don't Praise Him" which follows similar but different rules. That one took longer since I didn't whack my head first.

    Talk about coloring in the lines!

    I would encourage other poets out there to experiment with meter. It's back in style. Also syllabics like in haiku. And they're fun to play with. Rhyme is not so much the trend, although it's more popular right now hidden within the lines rather than placed at the end.

    Food for poetic thought.


  14. Dina, that was so lovely. Thank you for sharing it. You are a unique talent, truly blessed with His spirit. Every book review, every poem, every blog post, you manage to touch me with your words. Great things are waiting for you.

  15. Thanks Suzie. I'll take that as a prophecy ;)

  16. Karen K is the winner of the potpourri scented journal. Congrats Karen.


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