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Dark Morning Prayer

June 17, 2024

Susan Cowger

Does one find courage? Sometimes it is courage that finds me—in the oddest of ways. It is curious what strength there is in a new perspective, the  Lord turning my head a quarter turn in a new direction…

“…no one except Lucy knew that as it circled the mast it had whispered to her, ‘Courage, dear heart,’ and the voice, she felt sure, was Aslan’s, and with the voice a delicious smell breathed in her face.” ― C.S. LewisThe Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Dark Morning Prayer

Winter black    clouds  there     on

the floor     knees      forearms    forehead to dusty carpet

Let my ears ignore footsteps in the kitchen      the smell 

of coffee being poured    Lord please don’t eye 

cells of the calendar lining up to stare at you

                         dare you to intrude


Jesus Almighty God    did you pick at dirt shadows 

on the stone floor       Were you speaking prayer up    

or down    as God    no man    my God 

without need     but needy    Oh my    the unspeakable need     

me memorizing you      stuffing torn pages     words of life crushed

                          into my curled fetal form   


I am afraid of your eyes    the way your sight 

sees right through dirt and darkness and dust    I’m watching 

wind muss your hair    molecules lining up 

to touch you    as your fingers rake sweaty strands

as if beginning anew     with me and you stuck 

                           in colorless gloam       


Thin  wan   pale    nothing and everything 

lies silent for a moment     and all that is in me cannot stop

a stray thought    it blurts out    trips    tripping tipping

the balance of God’s slight blink    and my shyest

                         sorry note


thrumming against my head     

gathering & slurred and there it is now caught

in my throat    Who is that    singing

I hear myself sing    loud out loud    I am

                          singing with you

The featured image is courtesy of Julie Jablonski and is used with her kind permission for Cultivating.

A note to the reader: In Susan Cowger’s poetry, extra spaces between words serve as the pauses that punctuation normally provides. Capital letters denote the beginning of a new sentence.


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