Posts Tagged ‘path’

Prayer to the God Who Keeps House in my Shoes

April 1, 2018

Help me to accept myself.  To accept the path I have found to walk.  To accept each fall and rise of that path.  To accept myself and my path as one.

I am not asking for a beautiful and surprising path.  Any true path will be beautiful and surprising.  I am not asking for a great prize at its end.  The prize I seek on my walk is already in the walker.

I do ask for awareness of my steps.  To feel my feet in my shoes meet the ground.  To feel my spirit move with my body.  To feel my body and spirit move with the Spirit of the world.  I ask to have my eyes see, my ears hear, my nose smell, my tongue taste, my skin touch.  Keep me alert to all the people, all the animals, all the plants.  And to all the seemingly lifeless forms of earth, water, and air.

Walk me through the world of my perceptions.  Fit my shoes to a spirit as gentle as a meandering stream.  Give me corns and blisters for my path until my feet become as discerning as the eyes of a crow.

Give me enough pain to respond to my needs.  Give me enough pleasure to tame my desires.  Give me enough compassion to feel the pain of others.  Give me enough kinship to celebrate communal joy.

Keep me walking my path without fear or shame.  With my share of folly but not with great folly.  With my share of seriousness but not with great seriousness.  Keep my body and spirit in balance.  Teach me to plant my steps on the spot of the path now before me, the only place and time where I can think or act.


First published in Brother Michael This Morning.


Mom Was Always Big in the Church - photo by Bernie Smetzer

Mom Was Always Big in the Church – photo by Bernie Smetzer

Black Crows

March 26, 2018


Black crows     Silent crows

Me on my path in the morning
startled by a silence of crows

Crows in a bush in the morning
Crows by my path in the morning

Large   Black   Silent

Crows watching me in the morning
Me watching crows in the morning

Standing by a bush watching crows
watch me in the morning

Path  Crows  Bush  Me  Morning


First published in Kansas Quarterly.



This poem goes back to an encounter at Purdue University when I was a student on my way to a 7:30 a.m. class.

Much later, when Vera and I were living in Wichita, Kansas, we used to walk a path along the river for exercise. At a bend in the path was a stand of trees that served as the winter home for hundreds of crows. They were an impressive and for some an intimidating presence. We could feel their group awareness as we passed next to them, but they were never concerned about us.

It was the same spiritual tension I had felt in my earlier encounter. Crows are very special birds. I am always aware of them.


Mike takes a hike in Missouri – photo by Vera Lisa Smetzer

Mike takes a hike in Missouri – photo by Vera Lisa Smetzer