Prayers and Poetry
Wedding Love Poem
By Peter B. Panagore, August 2010
Touched the hands of the wedding couple to bless them during the ceremony. Lost my mind for moments, lost all words for moments, the buzz of love off their hands coursing to my heart, nearly buckled my knees. Caught myself. Found the words. Went on.
Maine State House Prayer Poem
By Rev. Peter Panagore, March 4, 2010
This prayer is homage to my brilliant teacher, my storyteller, Rev. Dr. Hugh Morgan Hill of Cambridge, Massachusetts, a.k.a Brother Blue, who passed on just months ago.
So Let’s Pray,
God, you gots no age, you ain’t young, and you ain’t old,
God, you gots no body -- no woman parts an no man parts,
No fingers no toes; you ain’t blond or brunette, and you ain’t bald.
You bigger than me.
Bigger than all we.
Bigger than stars.
Bigger than ideas.
But you ain’t go no size neither,
And you’s so small you fits right inside of every tiny tiny thing.
You gots me baffled. Whatever you is, is not what I am, but I AM cause you IS.
What is we to make of that?
Folks shouting "it’s a miracle!" -- that baby what got saved from that tree come crashin downinside his daddy’s house, booming into baby’s room, smashin all around that momma’s boy, leavin even twigs tucked inside his nappies, next to his sweet sweet baby’s bottom, during Snowicane that roared tempestuously tearing up Maine — winds howlin to 90, snows falling in feet, folks claimin it’s a baby miracle!
God, you dun saved that baby, but, man o’man, what about them poor folk in Concepcion, Chile, or Port of the Prince, Haiti, where’s their miracle? You gots me baffled. Why save a little baby boy when you lets thousands go collect their great re-ward? And why let them Wall Street rich make off with our National loot, while letting the mackerel canners go belly up?
Maybe because we gots it wrong. Maybe your finger, if you gots one which you don’t ain’t in the stew a’stirring. Maybe it’s up to us to straighten up this mess as best we can. Maybe your love for us be so strong you let us have our way, and maybe you just plain gets out of the way a’nature doing her thing, letting her do what she does best, tossing up storms, shaking the earth, and all that whatnot.
Maybe what you gives us, God, is each other, to figure all this out. Maybe we ain’t really Whigs or Torries, conservatives or liberals, dems or that’s, maybe we all just one people under God, under you, indivisible, working the best we can for the biggest best, for the most folks. If that’s the truth, then we all asks you, steer us, right here, right now, today, in dis place and dis space, and if we argues and pushes back and forth with words, then let it all be for the good, and let the good be done, ‘cause God, we need the help.
Ahhhhhhh and Amen.
Maine State Senate Prayer
Rev. Peter Panagore, February 17, 2009
Humor me, hold hands across the aisle.
This is a literal act with figurative implications.
Unfortunately, I’m going to need my hands unheld, to pray.
Every time hard times come, we make it through
And walk on out. It takes will power and direction
And action together and we’re asking you, God, to make
The crooked path, straight again that we might
Walk free of the burdens of this bad economy.
With You, tomorrow will be better than today;
We believe, that our Maine community, our people;
With Your insight God,
Can aim for a brighter future,
And that we can build our way out of this mess,
Through better government
For the sake of business,
For the sake of the truck driver, the fisherman, the teacher,
The day laborer, the unemployed, the elderly and the children.
God, I’m calling on you, up there, out there, in here,
To roll up your sleeves, to put your back into it, put your mind into it,
To help these folks standing in front of you today, hand in hand, to remember
That all of us are smarter than one of us, and
That together we’ll succeed.
The House of Representatives in the State of Maine
By Reverend Peter B. Panagore, Tuesday, April 01, 2008
They were up all night,
These leaders of Maine,
Who made the hard choices,
Who made the tough decisions,
Who did what they could with what they had
For the benefit of the state as a whole.
The attacks have begun,
And the ramifications
For being leaders
For choosing when
There was no good solution,
No miracle to cure what ailed us
It was dollars and sense,
Dollars and S E N S E,
There was only cutting
As little and as large as possible,
And sadly pushing a burden
Onto communities and persons
Onto those who can least
We know that.
There was no help for it
But to pass a yoke
On to those who struggle most
And have valid needs, and
Onto towns who must now
Shoulder the minds of school children
Upon their tax burdened backs, and
On to churches who will dig deeper
To supply human services to human beings
This is no condemnation, God, it is a lamentation,
Just an appraisal of where we are in this together.
Bottom line, God, there was little choice for our leaders,
We can’t spend money we don’t have,
For justice roll down like waters
And righteousness like an ever-flowing stream, We simply need more than we have more water, more streams
We ask your help in shoveling out the mud of this regrettable blockage
And in this inevitable season in which we find ourselves.
These leaders of Maine,
Did what had to be done
They balanced what they could
In a situation that no one wants to be in
And not many may praise them, but
We will, God, right now, we will praise them for their courage to compromise
For their forthrightly making decisions that open them to attack
For doing what had to be done and
For making do with what they found.
Our state is pretty stove up, God; now it’s time to look to the future
And build an economy that will take compromise and vision,
Hard work and innovation,
And with Your willingness, bring prosperity.
Keep an eye our leaders, God. Give them backbone,
Give them thoughtfulness, give them frugality and compassion
In all they do.
Prayer Poem for the Maine State Senate
By Peter B. Panagore, February 2008
Let’s Pray -- a poem.
This is for your people
Satisfy one side and
Alienate the other.
Stand rigidly and
Snap like a spruce in a gale;
Stand fluidly and
Flex like a birch in a gale;
Inclusive of all your people.
Satisfying fully none, but
Bipartisan and fruitful.
Bless these leadership women,
Bless these leadership men,
With an honorable wisdom
That reaches between the aisles
With open hands and open minds, with
Plainly spoken strong thoughts creating
New ideas forged from opposing ideas.
Banish sound bites;
Banish diminishing labels;
Stand for your people,
Stand with your people,
Stand by your people,
The grand majority of us who
Stand in the wide, wide middle.
It’s time for true change;
It’s time for inspiration,
It’s time for hope;
It’s time for tough choices
And true solutions,
Not brokered on the backs of the poor,
Nor picked from the pockets of the rich.
It’s time for give and take,
On both aisle sides
with gains for all for
A new Maine
For a new day
In a re-America.
Bless this day, God of All,
Bless this chamber, God of truth, and
Lead us in the middle way.
By Peter B. Panagore
I was traipsing using a ski poles as my walking sticks,
On a bypath under budding oak & alder in a soft rain
With the roar of gale out over the bay,
On the day following our historic spring northeaster,
That had left our towns in trees-down shambles,
A black-capped chickadee abruptly zipped across in front of me
& Roosted in a leafless shrub two arms length’s away.
He sang his spring song to me in clear whistling – “Hey, sweetie; hey sweetie”.
I stopped to watch and listen. This dee looked me in the eyes &
Thereon he shyly hid beady eyes behind a skinny twig,
Making mine hidden from him too,
Giving me moments to inspect every fine feather of him;
Irresistibly, we peeked and saw eye to eye; he fidgeted,
I whispered an ornithological– “whisshh-whisshh”
The dee twitched and leapt,
I thought he left,
Willingly he perched a foot further away and began to eat
Whatever it was he carried in his sharp as a needle black beak,
He pecked the tender bark between his talons, and picked and
Crunched and pecked and picked and munched again,
not minding me at all.
I too twitched and scratched my tickling nose with a wet gloved finger as I
I crouched for a better view & I listened,
& when I walk-on he didn’t frighten & fly;
Minutes later, as I descended a seagreen mossy footpath towards my home,
I heard a pair of chickadees singing spring-songs and getting nearer.
I stopped and loudly called “whisshh-whisshh”.
Their calls came ever closer, &
At ten feet from me I saw one and
He kept coming, stopping for seconds on twiggy branches.
At an arm’s length he touched down, & stayed still watching me,
He whistled to his companion,
Swiftly flitted past me, inches from my nose, a blur of bird,
I swung around to see him seeing me,
Perched a foot from my face;
He flitted again, I whirled again.
He alighted, hesitated, and
Lifted toward me, hovering in the space
At my eye level, inches away,
He settled again and sang again, &
I lifted my walking pole holding it for him as if it was a red branch,
He landed on it near my hand,
Looked at me, spoke some notes, fled and vanished among the trees,
I called loudly to him, “whisshh-whisshh”
And at a distance, he followed, singing, “Hey sweetie, hey sweetie”,
Speaking my name as he came;
He visit made me dizzy with beauty, he
Made my feet stumble while my heart became lively & electric,
Creator speaks your name.
Creator calls to you.
Through various voices of creation,
Saying, “Hey sweetie, I am here and so are you. I am here for you.”
It’s a song heard only with the open ears of the heart.
A Darkness, A Light Poem
By Peter Panagore
A darkness, darkness, darkness
Covered the face of the land,
Darkness covered the surface of the sea,
Darkness covered the cities, the forests, the farms and the people.
Darkness— a deep disorienting darkness,
Penetrated homes and souls and sucked out the light
Sucked up the light, ate the light, drank the light,
Swallowed the light until the people
Lived alone in darkness.
One man came
Carrying a light inside himself,
A light that illuminated his eyes,
A light that smiled on those he touched,
A light he shared.
This light spread, a person at a time, and
The light itself grew stronger
And brighter dispelling the darkness
Of ignorance, of foolishness, of bigotry,
Of slavery, of oppression, of hunger, of fear,
Of jealousy, of hatred, and even of death itself
Dispersed among the people this light
Illuminates the world until there is darkness
The light is hot
But it does not burn
The light is bright
But it does not blind
The is real
But is elusive and
Uncontainable and uncontrollable,
And it is not ours, and we do own it not.
It owns us.
You are the light of the world.
You and you and you and
We, but only because God’s light here and now.
Always now. Always illuminating.
Always dispelling. Always saving.
Alight in us, Lord of Light that we might
Become your light
In Darkness here and now. Amen.
An invocation read at the installation of
Reverend Susan Craig, Associate Conference Minister
Saturday, June 9, 2007,Waterville, Maine
Based on Matthew5:15, Mark 4:21, & Luke11:33
Ice Water Baptism Poem
By Rev. Peter B. Panagore
I leap a town dug drainage ditch
filled with a long-line-pile of brown plowed snow.
I bash a bit past the bare-fingered chock cherries,
dormant at the road’s edge & enter the frozen lowlands,
where nearly no one walks.
Squirrels live in these woodlands, & if winged fairies have a home anywhere—
it’s here among these low lumps of
snow-coated mosses and gnarled spruce roots,
Above me is a spruce green tree canopy;
beyond that, is the blue-gray of a clouding sky;
from where winter’s frozen snows and rains came to cover & to bury;
Around me are the red rough barked trees all lacking low branches
making walking easy; &
beneath each splashing foot is the sopping wet of snow melt,
Flat water gathers, & streams & cuts a water channel, a
miniature canyon through the aqua-green ice,
a chilling lively rivulet rippling and rushing,
Flowing toward an ice hole,
and there the short stream disappears below,
gurgling away; Bending low, I
Cup the flow of coldness from an icy pool,
scooping-up handfuls to my uncovered head, &
wet my short shorn hair with the freezing water & suddenly
I realize I am internally asking a blessing for myself in the
name of the Maker of me— the
One who Was, Who Is, and Who will always Be,
“Bless me Well of Life, for I am less than You,
You are oceans, you are clouds, you are snow and rain,
You are ice, You are melt, You are stream, and me?
I am a single scattered spruce needle blown down by winter winds,
one among millions, sweep me to yourself,
but leave me unharmed,
unchanged; let me flow inside Your stream, but leave me whole, and alone,
This solid little self of mine doesn’t want to know that the price for holy wholeness,
of joining in the flow
is my wholly wetted soul soundly letting go.
Light and Lands Poem
By Rev. Peter B. Panagore
Our lands are white iced covered, sheets on fields, slick under boot.
Careful walking, using alpine poles with ice pick tips strapped to my wrists and glove gripped, it’s me wandering among the balsams; Over head, with Linekin Bay beneath, a setting sun alights a purpling sky in layers of pinksandorangeazurs, a flowing tones of light;
Windless; and so so silent is this evening air; & below the sea rolls in, moving in measures a foot high, from trough to crest, from trough to crest, from trough to crest-- hundreds of waves sliding inshore, unseen, somewhat silent vibrations made languid in liquid by a colorized sky;
Two mechanized foghorns howl in the distance--
familiar and comforting; but in this fogless winter we miss the
Keeper of the Light, The dead Mr. Dodge, who long and lived long ago on that island, alone, and who would have turned off that cod-clammit! horn!; but tonight they sound & sound making audio waves in "B", and a vibrational hum in my heart, so this night I'll sleep with my window a'crack, the cold air chilling my face,
making me keep my hands beneath the cozy comforter, letting me
hear this seasidelullaby of my adopted home, here in my paradise exile.
From where my walk takes me, tonight, from this birch bluff above the bay, I see Burnt Island lighthouse, a sweeping red lamp winks, winking, winks at me as I pole my way like a four footed beast, and tromp along the Elbow Road above the cove, on this icy-slick white-rink of an old-time logging-road unused these days by autos, or trucks, and never plowed; only in summer it is tractor mown by me, at dusk it's just me and the occasional snow crunch under foot, and my silver padding poodle, who loves this cold air and wears her fading hunter orange bandana tied around her neck, because otherwise, when she stops— she suddenly fades into shadow, becoming a wood-spirit herself all camouflaged in curls, and I lose sight of her; she lives to walk these woodlands.
Out here, it's me, a creature in nature, looking inward looking outward, beauty outside, & all around, seeking Beauty within,
A Man on Skates Poem
By Rev. Peter B. Panagore
Effortlessly– gliding on parallel rails
Riding a Canadian Clipper wind
Blowing at his back,
Sailing– downwind his
Red parka unzipped with
Corners held extended
Clenched in mittened fists,
Standing stone still,
Speeding over the eel pond;
Winter’s Ideal ice
The first, the best,
Elastic and black containing a
Million captured ice air bubbles;
Frozen like ancient cold constellations
Galaxies beneath his steel blades
Stone-ground and sharp
Enough to cut
Soaring on the ice
Approaching the immovable
Ponds end, and
Loving the beauty
Of being briefly human.
On a Busy Boulevard Poem
By Rev. Peter B. Panagore
On a busy city boulevard
In midtown Manhattan
I bumped into God.
I ask you, “How often does that happen?”
“Here’s my chance!” I said to myself.
I didn’t want to waste God’s time, so
I asked directly—
“God, what is your real name?”
God stared at me.
“God, that’s a little rude, don’t you think,
staring and not answering?” I asked.
More silence, and then—
In musical voice that ranged baritone, tenor,
soprano, bass and alto,
“My name is unspeakable.”
God leaned in,
Whispering singing a song for me,
On the sidewalk in front of me, behind me,
Even above me,
Babies stopped crying,
Taxis stopped maneuvering,
Shoppers stopped shopping,
Walkers and hawkers, stopped hawking and walking.
Entranced and charmed by the most angelic,
Enchanting, and most utterly human and holy supernatural,
song of inner nature song ever sung—
read rapidly, smoothly
I occur I come to pass,
I come into being,
I come about,
I arise, appear, become, establish,
bring about, abide, remain,
continue, and institute.
“I be in,
I be at,
I be with,
I be done, I be situated,
I be among, within, and without
God, was done and gone!
And we in the city,
Breathed slow and long, and
To chores and work and
On to destinations,
But we heard,
We heard It together.
Advent Wildflower Poem
By Rev. Peter B. Panagore
Wild flowers blossom in a sheltered strip
Along the road side above the bay;
There I plucked a pair — hawkweed and clover— to tuck into
The felt band of my fedora which I wore against the
Low, late sun;
18 degrees above the horizon—
That’s what I heard is the height of the sun
Before the winter solstice comes, and it seems true
If my watering eyes are to be believed;
Pick up trucks and town trucks with Fisher plows affixed
And windows rolled down, flannelled elbows poking out, roll by
When winter’s icy ways should be closing in on us -
Instead we play pick-up soccer in our sunny shirtsleeves