Poetry At Work Between Friends: Adagio

blades of grass adagio project

It is a delight to continue to partner with Holly at A Lifetime of Days for poetry. We live and breathe half-way across the country from one another, have never met in real life, but have formed a friendship and a common love for words. Most especially for poetry.

Today is the third offering of Adagio: A Poetry Project which began last year and continues to grow and fly. Our fledgling, our joint writing project is leaving the nest again. You may recall our first poem, woven and written together, was a picture of us as individual writers. The second time, Adagio involved separate poems inspired by the words of a song which Holly shared with me. It was the Christmas season and that weighed heavy on our words.

Today, January 15, 2013, is the first ever Poetry At Work Day, an idea birthed from the creative folks at Tweetspeak Poetry. Today we thread a poem together into one piece, from a distance. Holly and I write with each other, as well as in community with other writers.  I am raising three children or they are raising me. One has left the nest or flown the coop. Holly is the momma of two boys whom she homeschools.

This is the work of our hands and hearts.8050802129_c31e37d9d6



Les Mains (French for “hands”) talks of the power, the breadth, and the warmth of God’s reach.  For us, our hands can be tools and vehicles for working, for writing, for loving. We would love to hear your thoughts on the multiple roles hands play in the living out of your days.

You may write your prose, your comments, your poetry, however you feel lead.  Just write in the comments here or at A Lifetime of Days and give us the link to your own writing. We long to read your words, the overflow of your heart.

spencer with butterfly on hand

Les Mains

Your hands reach back
through inky curtains
worn, frail, thin
settling our shaky human brokenness
smoothing the broken shards of conscience
all the while
quelling a thousand restless swirling places
righting rattled beats

And then, as always
You are here
the warming sun your canopy
and I must grab hold of your shadow
for fear of sinking deep into
the pools of light
left in your wake
For the day
it keeps moving,
ray upon ray

You reach forward
no more fevered pitch
or furrowed brow
You are slow
and steady
All that races
finds a peaceful pace
In a twinkling
the frozen is warmed
and the darkness becomes

And as with all creation
Your hands
form a holy welcome
That longed for warm embrace
enveloping all restless souls
with grace




17 thoughts on “Poetry At Work Between Friends: Adagio

    1. Yes, sweet one what a pleasure to have you here. We write and email back and forth. This poem started originally from an Oswald Chambers daily devotion, My Utmost From His Highest. I tossed it out to Holly, telling her I’d like to write from the inspiration of Chamber’s words. It evolved from there. I wrote and sent it to her. She added to it, weaving her words around mine and making some changes. We ended up resting on this.

      1. Very cool. I love the collaboration. 🙂 Sometime, it might make for an interesting to piece to share some of the back-and-forth, how “this” became “that” and what was in between. Just a thought, might not work for your process. 😉 Keep it up.

        1. Thank you Lyla. Yes I love your idea. It would be fun and add another dimension to show the mechanics behind the process. I am challenged by the idea and would love to pursue it with Holly. Feel free to let us know if you have any specific ideas of how that would play out as we too try to incorporate that into Adagio. When I look back on this particular piece, I in fact almost forget which lines were mine and which were Holly’s. The lines are blurred and it reads like a third person wrote it.

          1. Lyla,
            Elizabeth is so right when she says that it would be fun to share our process but that it might be quite the challenge, as well. With the two poems that we have written cooperatively the process has been very organic and natural. One of us shares a bit, or all, of what we’ve written and then the other one of us may tweak here and there or add some lines in between. We go back and forth like that until we both feel it is complete. And Elizabeth was absolutely spot on when she shared that looking back at the completed piece is another experience all together. I, too, find it hard to remember which line was “mine” to begin with or which one Elizabeth brought to the table.
            It is a creative process that is very new to me but is at once thrilling and terrifying. Thankfully, I have the beautiful and gracious Elizabeth Marshall as my partner and that immediately makes me and all things better.

  1. as usual, you both make my mind and heart sing in joy. WOW. so many phrases in this just spoke so clearly to my heart dear friends…especially:
    “Your hands reach back
    through inky curtains
    worn, frail, thin
    settling our shaky human brokenness
    smoothing the broken shards of conscience” (this settling and smoothing, oh dear Lord, please do…)
    “and I must grab hold of your shadow
    for fear of sinking deep into
    the pools of light
    left in your wake” (if only we understood the radiance of His presence in our lives more…imagining that his shadow is more light then we have ever known…makes me think of Abraham being hid in the cleft and glimpsing the tail end of God showing his presence)
    AND well pretty much the WHOLE thing.
    I am so blessed to call you each my dear poetry heart friends! keep on writing those dear prayers from your souls my friends.

    1. What a gift to have you here. Your words to us, buoy my spirits today. What encouragement. What a gift. We treasure you on this shared poetry journey. I am re-reading your insights now….they tilt me in another direction…and that is good.

      1. We had you at “Le Mains”, didn’t we? 😉
        I am so grateful that our offering spoke to your heart. Your comments get right at the heart of what we were trying to capture:

        That God was, is and always will be.
        That God’s hands create and bless and settle and smooth.
        That God is infinite yet ever present.

        Blessings on your head and heart, friend. Please keep joining us in this poetry dance. You are so very loved.

        1. Holly, it is true that the French title definitely caught my eye 😉
          I shall continue to engage in this poetry dance with you my friends…because it is a symphony ever changing!

  2. hands. I love hands. this poem is beautiful. hands show life. either the small precious hands of an infant who reaches and touches not only skin, but hearts. the sticky hands of children who reach for comfort or my favorite the wrinkled arthritis filled hands of a senior whose hands show a life of giving, cleaning, working and loving. thank you for this post. it is wonderful. DAF

    1. DAF,
      I love seeing this poem through your eyes. Poetry can bring us together around a prompt in an amazing way. I love seeing the world through the gaze of others. You words here are lovely. It would be wonderful to see more poetry on “hands”. A rich trove of possibility, indeed.

      1. DAF,
        You have painted such a beautiful picture of the human hand, laced throughout all of the life stages. Hands do speak life–one that gives, cleans, works and loves. Glory!
        So thankful for your heart here today.

  3. Simply beautiful! I love this, particularly:

    how he is “righting rattled beats” and this profession…

    “You are slow
    and steady
    All that races
    finds a peaceful pace
    In a twinkling
    the frozen is warmed
    and the darkness becomes

    Ah, this glorious picture of grace and the dance of words between friends, illuminating the One who holds us. I feel refreshed.

    Here’s a link to a piece I wrote a while back about mothers and the work of their hands. Not exactly poetry, but maybe prosetry or a proem 🙂 :


    1. Ashley,
      Thank you so much for stopping here today. This whole project has been just as you described–a dance of words between friends. We are so very grateful that you were pointed to the One who choreographs it all and that you leave refreshed. That is such a gift to us.
      And the piece to which you linked? Gorgeous and gracious and dripping with glory. Thank you so much for sharing that and the beautiful truths of mother art. Love.

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