Words of WonderPoultice - Brother Richard Hendrick

In this time of times
perhaps we have
such need again,
for a poultice placed
gently and
with kindness upon
the rounded body
of the earth
where too long
our self-sickness has
burrowed deep
within and brought
the breaking and the burning
of fever dream,
of pain and sorrow
become now a crown of pain,
a pulsing pandemic
bound tight
about our
wounded world
filled with the,
the pus and poison
that would
set our soul cells
against each other
tearing the woven thread
of being apart.
So then, hear
the ancient remedy,
ever old and ever new,
and with faith go out
to gather the gifts
of kindness,
then bind them
with the binding cloth
of love
and anoint
the broken body
of the world with blessing
that after crisis
cools this earth,
the hearts, the souls
of all that live
may wake from
this fever dream
and see, as
only those who
touch death see,
the grace of dawn
the gift of life
the oneness of
our being.

by Brother Richard Hendrick


The conflict in the Middle East is on many of our minds and hearts. I find the poem above (by Brother Richard Hendrick, a Capuchin monk from Ireland) to be a beautiful prayer for healing. Although it sounds idealistic, I think it expresses a dream that we must have. If we don’t have hope, we won’t have resilience, if we don’t have resilience we can’t act. So, to connect with the dream of healing, to be able to imagine peace, is necessary and important. Joanna Macy says that we must live the hope, and that to live from hope is what ignites possibility. David Adams, a psychologist in the US, did research that found that those who had an optimistic view of human nature, were more likely to be peace activists.

I know I’m speaking for many when I say I feel powerless to help, and for many more when I say I need to limit my exposure to the news. This poem feels like the balm to soothe my frustrated, aching heart. Reading it helps me to continue to look reality in the face. Holding what’s real in one hand and the dream in the other, I feel I can head onwards.

Ps. If you’d like to learn a new way to receive the gifts of poetry come along to our retreat day on Serenity which is on the 18th November – a day of mindfulness and poetry, inspired by the serenity prayer.

Photo by Sixteen Miles Out on Unsplash