Fr. Teri’s Poems

As the Light of Christ Poet Laureate, Fr. Teri has written hundreds and hundreds of poems over the years that have touched our lives in so many ways. We are delighted to share a few of those poems with you here.

“Joy to you and me”

(not) once
in the thin space
where sacred and ordinary are one
there was a great welcoming
and a birth,

God swaddled in flesh and bones
moved into a new spaciousness
having been held in holy darkness
emerging in holy light
and a new breath
relying on the kindness of strangers
the dreams of a father
the scandal of a mother who said yes anyway
and to the choir of angels and shepherds
God gave God’s self
in love

not once has this happened
but over and over
when we prepare the mangers of our souls
creating holy spaciousness
with dreams
and scandals
and new affirmations of yes
entering the messiness of the thin places
where sacred and ordinary hold hands
and breathe in the new breathing
of God
and love

Christmas breathes in us
Christmas loves through us
Christmas becomes
us
for we are the thin places
the veil lifted
where heaven and earth meet
and sacred and ordinary unite
and to be divine is to be human
in light
in song
in breath
in prayer
in dancing
in grace
in gentle
in tender
in blessed
in holy
in merry
Christmas

there, I said it
merry Christmas;
glory to God in our midst,
and welcome

©Teri Harroun, Christmas 2022

“Epiphany”

they set out at night

following a star
a light
when you follow a star you travel at night

back home,
they wait
they watch
they wonder
every night

back home,
they do home things
plant the garden
milk the cows
bathe the children
and then at night

they look up at the sky
at that star
and pray
and sing
and wait

back home,
strangers are welcomed
fed
offered a bed
for a night or two
given gifts
of lavender, lemons, and salted fish
a little gold if the travelers might need treasure

back home,
the garden harvest begins
and there is so much work
the days are longer
but almost not long enough
to do everything that needs to be done
and the nights are shorter
leaving little time for star gazing and wondering
songs of wonder happen in dreams now

back home,
the nights stretch and lengthen
the star is gone
and a new wonder dripping now with fear
nags
especially in the night
and the prayers and wonder and songs continue
“come home”

they travel in the daytime now
you can do that when you are heading home
even if you go another way

they carry gifts of scarves and olives and dried figs
but mostly
they bring stories
and hugs
and the familiar scent of myrrh in their beards

back home,
it is a day that is like all the other days
the liminal space
of waiting and trusting
when just after sunset
they went out to seek stars
and found the ones they waited for
were home again
the wait was over
and the joy was bubbling over
that all the stars in the sky seemed brighter now
ready to lead someone else
on divine adventures
traveling at night
with wonderers at home

© Teri Harroun, 2017

“Epiphany”

what would you bring?
your gift for a child swaddled in flesh and bones
traveling for miles
sand between your toes
moving in the dark
for when you follow a star
you move at night
to the song of the coyotes howling
what would you bring?

they chose:
gold, frankincense, and myrrh,
these magic ones and their magic
have gifts of
gold
frankincense
myrrh
all gifts that are worn by the body
gifts that honor a body
gifts that touch and caress skin
the scent becoming one with every cell
of the body
and treasures of bling now sing
gifts for the body of God

they chose to care for the body
oh beloved,
how do you treat your body
swaddled in flesh and bones?
what gifts would you bring?

(c) Teri Harroun, 2021

“Epiphany”

don’t be afraid of your own light,
your inner star
the light you can only see in the dark;
and don’t let them tell you
to be afraid of the dark,
but move in that dark
following the good light there;
know the darkness that is holy
the light that is holy
and the you that is holy
may that be your epiphany,
going home another way
(c) Teri Harroun, 2022

“God meeting us verb for verb”

In the beginning was the Word. And the word came to be with us, verb for verb.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us
And the Word became body and walked among us
And the Word became water and splashed among us
And the Word became light and gleamed among us
And the Word became words and spoke among us
And the Word became prayer and prayed among us
And the Word became tears and cried among us
And the Word became hope and spread among us
And the Word became earth and life grew among us
And the Word became tenderness and comforted among us
And the Word became compassion and stood in solidarity among us
And the Word became justice and proclaimed among us
And the Word became grace and healed among us

And the Word became you
And the Word became me

Verb for Verb. God is with us. Merry Christmas. Amen

(c) Teri Harroun

Mary – The Black Madonna
(Reflection from the artwork of the Polish Black Madonna, of Lydia Ruhle)
Your heart is fierce
and speaks with love;
for the one child
that is all children
for the one Love
that is all love
for the violence upon one
that is the violence upon yours.
She proclaims,
“Whatsoever you do,
that you do unto mine.”
Your heart is love
and speaks with truth,
fiercely.

Today: Let me listen to the tears of mothers who cry.

Mary – Consoler of Women
stretch out your arms,
oh, Consoler of Women,
and be armed
armed,
but not dangerous
armed with compassion
care
comfort
armed with yarn
prayer shawls
color
armed with dignity
truth
integrity
armed with tattoos
bracelets
rings
armed with grace
gumption
giggles
armed with words
poems
parables
armed with prayer beads
labyrinth walks
candles
armed with companions
partners
crones
armed with awareness
assessment

acumen
armed with children
prophets
dreams
armed, God with
God within
God beyond

Today: Embrace being embraced with arms that console and love.

Mary of the Magnificat
earth
tomb, now womb
the echo of let it be done to me
on her lips
a magnificat,
the handmaid of God
singing
my soul, my soul
my soul magnifies the Divine
and my spirit rejoices
in all that is holy
my Beloved has breathed life into me
through me
and all generations shall call me
blessed
for my Beloved has imagined me into being
and created me,
oh holy, holy,
holy is the Name;
grace pursues
generation after generation
for this Divine Breath moves
scattering conceit, deceit
and emerging with the lowly;
now the hungry are filled
the thirsty are satisfied
and all of creation flourishes
peace
my soul, my soul
my soul magnifies the Divine
who has whispered to our ancestors
and breathed with the saints, the trees, the birds, the stardust
let this be done to me
let this be done

Today: Today I will sing in my soul. Today I will sing with the trees. Today I will sing with the
stars. Today I will sing.

Mary – Our Lady of the Lost and Found
(Reflection on the book by by Diane Schoemperlen)
If you are here, then you are not lost;
but perhaps you know, the space between
lost and found……
potency dwells there.
Creativity, light, and love.
Potential and possibility too.
Wholeness exists
in the spaces between.
The spaces between notes in music
where one must end for another to begin.
The spaces between opposites
where each makes the other possible.
The spaces between bodies
where God dances and swirls.
The spaces between words on a page
where meaning is found.
The spaces between heartbeats
where life is sabbath.
The space between breaths
where transformation matters.
Mary wears a proper coat,
blue. Believing in something larger than herself,
she is the space between.

Today: Experience the space between, and create holy spaciousness.

Mary – First Priest
(Reflections on bread, my hands, Communion, and Mary)
The first to bring
the Body and Blood of Christ to the world,
oh priestess,
bake us some bread.
we bake bread
on snow days
and for picnics at the beach
for feasts
and for famines
to sop up our soup at the end of a meal
or to serve as the start of our long night celebrations
and in the baking,
God is essential
with the yeast and the flour,
the water and the caraway seeds
the kneading and the rising
the time in the oven
and the time on the counter resting,
God is essential
God brings the sacred
to what’s holy
even when overlooked
and looked over,
the blessing to what’s broken
the grace to beget grace;
God is essential
grind blue corn for tortillas
add eggs for a good challah
keep the starter for the sourdough on the counter
add pumpkin and spices in the fall
save grandma’s mashed potatoes for the best biscuits
a good ghee is needed for naan
practice braiding for baguettes
but in all of these
God is essential
for a bread doesn’t flourish without God
staff of life
staple of home

center of ritual at the priest’s hands
blessed and broken
with wheat or without
bake us some bread, Mary,
bake us some bread
we need to be fed

Today: Savor bread. Savor Bread.

“Alana”

Alana.
you lived your own poem
beloved child of God;
rest in poetry now, dear one
your wisdom verses continue to be written
with God’s pen;
your prayers
our voice
join us in vigil
light the candles
sing the songs
wave the flags
stand in full bodied prayers in postures of kindness
that all children may be told
by Church, through Church
(in spite of Church until then)
that they are
whole
holy
sacred
blessed
lovable
loved
just
as
they
are
you were born to love and to be loved,
Alana,
you show us now that love crosses all boundaries;
your love,
Alana,
denied by some
questioned by others
rejected
judged
condemned,
your love is Love
continues now
on earth as it is in heaven,
sainted child of God
rest in poetry
I wish we’d met.
oh, we just did.
©️ Teri Harroun

Easter

resurrection happens in the details:
the dirt under the finger nails
the head cloth, gently folded
the stone rolled away
the empty tomb
the smell of the grass
the sleeping guards
the scent of the spices
the scattered palm branch pieces
the women weeping
the men behind closed doors
the veil torn in two
the showing up
the saying of a name
the grace that wiggles into the smallest of spaces
the first one to tell the story
the first one to hear the story
the first one to believe the story,
resurrection happens in the details:
and there is no tomb where Love does not rise up
there is no shadowed corner where Light doesn’t shine
there is no person, no matter what you’ve done, or failed to do, whom Grace does not pursue
there is no distance, social distance or otherwise, that can keep away God
Love shows up, in the Raised, and the amazed
both the Love of divinity and the love of humanity show up,
eyes that look like heaven…..
it’s in the details.
Teri Harroun, April 12, 2022

Feast of St. Brigid

in the belly
of Her dirt
a seed cracks
stretches
responding to the sacred light
not all the seeds will do this
only those
who were asked to bring hope
life
from the belly
into the light
while a pregnant goat
also stretches Her body
with a fire in Her own belly
reaching into spring
not all goat does will do this
only those
who were asked to bring life
hope
from the belly
into the light

© Teri Harroun

Poem from the 24 Hour Prayer Vigil for Climate Justice

God,

the trauma that needs tending
the groans that require our grace
the bleeding that craves blessings
the harm that desires healing

the small steps
the gentle songs
the deep breaths
the major wrongs

guide us through our ignorance
beyond our blinders
to see the hard things
to be the next visionings

God,
the time is now
we know it
the earth shows it
shows us
dusted dirt now
burning
yearning
churning
help our learning
God – oh God,
help our learning
the time is now:
plant your seed in us.

©️ Teri Harroun, 2022

“incarnational living”
God,
did you ever crochet a hat
by hand
selecting the softest yarn
from your stash
for the precious one
who could use some stitched up prayer right now
?

God,
did you ever bake a loaf of bread
in your kitchen
from scratch
with your own sweat invested
in the mixing and kneading
and waiting for it all to rise
not to mention the baking
for a friend who is grieving
and needs the scent of someone’s prayers
?

God,
did you ever leave a Hershey bar with almonds
on a darkened porch
in a special bag from the fair trade store
and ring the doorbell
then quickly leave
for the coworker who needs
the sacrament of chocolate
and it’s particular taste of grace
in their life
?

God,
did you ever color with a kindergartener
at their kitchen table
while their parents were at the hospital with Grandma
who was intubated last week
and is being taken off those machines today
not because she’s doing better
but because it’s time
and this kindergartener will always remember you
as the adult who stayed
and prayed with crayons
though they will say you played
?

God,
did you every text someone
as you watched the sunrise
and it reminded you of them
and you wanted them to know
that distance is not always distant
and prayers can be seen together from different places
just like sunrises
?

God,
did you ever wrestle with making your own protest sign
for climate justice and earth care
because you didn’t know how
to mount that sign on the branch you collected from the yard
for you wanted to be
as environmentally responsible as possible
and so duct tape wouldn’t be right
for prayer that shows up with its shoes tied
and it’s sign hanging a little funky
as it marches
?

God,
did you ever cast a vote
after researching all the candidates
and remembering that immigrants are people too
and Black Lives Matter
and Indigenous women and girls are being kidnapped and murdered
and there are guns in schools
and a woman and her baby died in the open space in the county where you live
and I am part of all of this
and so are You
knowing voting is a justice prayer in action
?

God,
did you ever send a thank you card
to the woman who remembered
that this day is the anniversary of your first miscarriage
because it’s her birthday too and this year she sent you
a new pair of slippers
to pamper your tender self while you remember deep loss
and you are grateful for the slippers
but even more so for her
so you send a prayer of gratitude
with a homemade card that needs a stamp
?

God,
did you ever shovel the neighbor’s driveway
and sidewalk
not because they need the help
but just because you’d already bundled up
and gone out to shovel your own
and just want to put into the world
a prayer of witness that kindness matters
?

God,
did you ever sing a blessing
over the wedding rings
of two women who today
pledge themselves in love
two becoming one
needing to hear the prayers
of the world
through the clamor of their oppressors
and their parents who don’t approve
?

God,
did you ever
do the things you ask me to do
or do you need me
to do
not just some asking
but some answering prayer too
or at least
to let You answer prayer through me
?
©️ Teri Harroun, November 10 2021

“Blessed”

when the Spirit moves
bend, wave, wonder, wiggle, burn:
Bishop Kae Madden

(c) Fr. Teri Harroun 

“Let Us Pray”
Thoughts and prayers are where I start.
Even if I don’t know for what to pray.
For peace. For flourishing.
For kindness of hearts.
For young girls skipping on the tarmac.
For bodies to be treated as sanctuaries.
For minds to be used for good.
For opens doors and hospitality.
For neighbors. For strangers.
For today to be a little bit better than yesterday.
For knowing my own part.
For the decision makers and the decision keepers.
For peace makers and peace keepers.
For fresh air.
For fresh ideas.
For fresh muffins just out of the oven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
Amen. So be it.

©️ Teri Harroun, 2021

“Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread”

God,

give us this day our daily bread
our quotidian needs
for love
connection
community
communion
to be noticed
to be touched
to contribute
to have something in our belly
to laugh
to cry
to give
to receive
to ponder
to stretch
to play
to dance in colors
to poet
to know sunshine on our skin
to have someone hold our hand
to have someone listen to our story
to have someone cherish our story
to pray for
to pray with
this living bread
feeds our bodies
our minds
our spirits
our souls
packed with nutrients
for the whole
us
the holiness
of living
this day
our daily bread
we are companions on the journey
with bread, blessed and broken
caring for every crumb
may we be manna for God’s world
may we be the crumbs
Amen. So be it.

©️Teri Harroun, 2021

“Would you, could you wear a mask?”

I do not like wearing a mask
I do not like them, but you asked.

I do wear one when in church
And thank the folks who do the research.

I do wear one, because I want to see
those who can’t get vaccinated feel welcome at church with me.
I do wear one, and I know
so many denominations recommend at church we all do so.
I do wear one, because church should be
safe and caring for everybody.

I do wear one, until 80% of Boulder county
can get vaccinated too; it’ll be a vaccination bounty!

I do wear one, and hope you do too
so together we can sing Alleluia, Allelu.

I do wear one, for ventilation is a concern
the air needs to move properly, so that virus we can spurn.

I do wear one, for the health of others
who can’t get vaccinated, God’s children, my siblings, sisters and brothers.

I do wear one, and when I do I pray
that God keeps guiding us, so this virus will finally go away.

I would wear one here or there, I would wear one anywhere.
I will wear one to love my neighbor. I will wear one for it takes no labor.
I will wear one because I follow Jesus. I will wear one knowing Jesus sees us.
I will wear one when I go to church. I will wear one when in a pew I perch.

I do not like wearing a mask, but I will wear one. I’m glad you asked. 

©️ Teri Harroun, 2021

“15 months exactly”
we are basking in the glow
of presence
human bodies gathered
singing
praising
raising joy
and boys
First Holy Communion
for all,
oh this,
this is what we hungered for
this is what we craved
a holy dance
of bodies
of Christ
in food and flesh
and feasting
and holy words
from the Breath of God
in food and flesh
and feasting.
©️ Teri Harroun, 2021

“Pentecost”

Come Holy Spirt, come
burn a holiness in my pocket
a fire in my belly
as Breath within my breath
give me language I have yet to imagine
speaking truth of prophets and
blessings of priests
kindling today
what is needed tomorrow
©️ Teri Harroun, 2021

“Light of Christ, 2021”

The light has always been in us.
Our God, the Light, shines.
We fan the flames.
We live into our name.
We are Light of Christ.

Today, we live in the Light.
Today we share kindness.
Today we commit to the work of prayer.
Today we use our voices to demand accountability.
Today we use our hands to soothe.
Today we use our feet to stand up for justice.
Today we continue to cry salty tears.
Today we share our blessings.
Today we ask the hard questions.
Today we slather the world with peace.
Today we reveal together the best of humanity.
Today we love out loud.
Today we rise.
Today we are Light of Christ in the streets.
Amen.
Today.
©️ Teri Harroun, 2021

“once again”

we mourn
we weep
we fathom the unfathomable,
once again

we cry
we hold
we make calls and check on one another,
once again

we pray
we lament
we ache in our bones,
once again

we watch
we listen
we try not to look away,
once again

we know someone who knows someone
we hum it’s a small world
we remember this is our backyard,
once again

we look to the helpers
especially those who waited in vigil
a final salute,
once again

we grieve
we ponder
that some waited in a parking lot for a phone call that’s never going to happen,
once again

we curl up under our covers
we cannot sleep
we are numb but awake,
once again

we write letters and poems
we recommit to kindness
we plan our next march,
once again

we pray for victims and families
we learn the names
we say the names,
once again

we vote
we seek justice
we pray for the shooter’s mother,
once again

we go grocery shopping
we take our kids to school
we look forward to going to the movie theater,
once again

we Boulder
we Columbine
we Aurora,
once again

we family
we friend
we neighbor,
once again,
once again,
again

(C) Teri Harroun, March 22, 2021
Oh. Boulder.

(a psalm for the beginning of a journey)

Sacred Mother,
You create, and inspire creativity.
You draw us into a circle, as you draw water at the well.
You provide food for the hungry, for body, mind, and spirit.
Let me curl up in your lap for a while.
Play with my hair, and sing me your lullabies.
I don’t wish to sleep, but to be soothed by you.
Just for a while.

I cherish these Lenten journeys, but this one seems so long already.
Create in me, Sacred Mother, a poem of hope.
Share it with me line by line, verse by verse, word by word, letter by letter.
Let me savor each dot and tittle.
May my Lenten journey unfold like such a poem,
Complete in its emerging.
I will linger at the well with you.
I will be the last to leave your table.
I’ll wash the dishes with you, if you like.

But first,

Let me curl up in your lap for a while.

(C) Teri Harroun, March 5, 2021

“our God is a Poet”

Fr. Teri (top left) with ECC Leadership council for closing ceremony of Holy Synod

in the beginning
was God:
the God of all beginnings

in the beginning
was a single stone
with jagged edges
to break stained glass ceilings
a rock of faith
a faith that rocks
building one brick at a time
a communion of communities

in the beginning
was a single word
whispered
and heard
by two or three who gathered together
to experience God swaddled in flesh and bones
and starting a conversation
of ecumenical proportions

in the beginning
was a single table
with an empty chair
for everyone
and there was bread and there was wine
the scent of all are welcome in what is blessed and broken
revealing a God who presides
at all tables
and our lives blessed and broken

in the beginning
was a breath
an inhale
with our ancestors
and our families
and all those yet to be,
a holy communion
of saints
praying and playing

in the beginning
was grace begetting
sacramental justice the heartbeat
of love working in the streets
building up the kin-dom
revealing God’s new beginnings

oh God of all beginnings,
as we lean forward together from our beginning
blessed be this day beginning
blessed be this Holy Synod
blessed be the Ecumenical Catholic Communion
blessed be the ones we represent
blessed be the work we join hands to share
blessed be the roots stretching deeper
blessed be the wings emerging
blessed be the story written here
blessed be the song we sing together
blessed be the prayer God’s planted within us
blessed be
blessed be
blessed be
blessed be the God who is our beginning
is now
and ever shall be
beginning
blessed be

(c) Teri Harroun
For the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion
October 2020

“Joy”

on Thursday August 6
outside the church office
by the tree
someone left a sign that said
“joy”

three simple letters
in brushed gold
on egg shell white
an elegant statement
and random act
of kindness

my heart smiled
my spirit swelled
and my joy was stirred
not shaken
deep in the bosom of my soul

now
this week
someone has walked off
with the creamer colored sign
at the base of the tree,
oh,
did you think you could steal our joy?

or did you claim
what moved in your own depths?

enjoy your joy,
as I enjoy mine
stirred, not shaken

(C) Teri Harroun
August 29, 2020

“Holy, Sacred Ground”

this is holy ground
our church labyrinth
trashed
rocks lifted and thrown
into a pile

the paths are gone
it cannot be walked

but this is holy ground
to be tended
mended
not ended

this is holy ground
a living reminder
that there is so much that we don’t control
but we can control our response

this is holy ground
open and receiving
help
grace
healing

this is holy ground
so pick up a rock
and bring it up to its new home
on this life path

this is holy ground
in the middle of transformation
oh, it’s rocky here
so disorganized
but this is what the messiness of birthing looks like
straining from the middle

this is holy ground
and the breath of God is her center
and the hands of God are your own
and the feet of God will walk this path
with you
and me
again

this is holy ground

(C) Teri Harroun
September 13, 2020

“Drive In Church”

we open with song
our song
car horns beeping
a glory to God
and God’s creation
a peaceful pleasantness
disguised as cacophony

we are God’s imagination
swaddled in flesh and bones
the hands and feet of Christ in the world
with the dashboard as our table
and a pickup truck our holy ground
turning to God with our prayer
as God turns to us to be
justice work pulsing in the world

praise God with the angels and shepherds
with the sun flirting in the sky with the clouds
with squirrels chattering under the pickup truck
and bees swirling around the bread and wine
with orange painted leaves beginning to peek out from the trees
and the gentlest of breezes blesses our cheeks
our windows are rolled down
and our God is at the center of it all
for all
are welcome here
connection
community
Communion

we share the song on our way home
with one another
and others
honking and waving
peace
peace
peace
for drive-in church means
we drive home too
scattering peace in our wake

let there be peace
and let it begin with
us


©️ Teri Harroun
September 27, 2020

“I Dream”
I wanna be someone’s poet laureate.
It doesn’t have to be a state. Or city.
On NPR I heard about a guy who is poet laureate for a baseball team.
Where could I be poet laureate?
How about my Conoco?
The soccer fields near my house?
The laundry room?
The front porch?
I’ll need business cards.
A new notebook.
Pens.
And a blog.
Punctuation
Or not.
And poems.
I’m gonna need some poems.
Anyone needs a poet laureate?
We are a dime a dozen.

(C) Teri Harroun, 2015

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