Wednesday, September 19, 2012


When the living syllables
of sky and forest
shine through the silent shapes
of sweetgum and red oak,
I search among their scraps for
the powerful, lonely
somewhere of you.
Infinite and wordless,
you hunt my solitude down
and fill its hours with
the vocabulary of daybreak
and campfire, the poetry
of forgiveness vivid
in the roots of
your dancing, passionate

©Laura Sorrells
all rights reserved

This is a found poem I wrote today using words from  the children's book A Crow Doesn't Need a Shadow: a Guide to Writing Poetry from Nature by Lorraine Ferra and a whole bunch of very poetic children.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Who is it
breathing inside
the shameless green
grace chooses?
--©Laura Sorrells 2012
all rights reserved

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Listen for the secret name
of God
that the sky prays
in April.
Something wild
and shining follows me
across the dark roof
at night.
My kindled heart
cracks into
lace and marble,
a silent room waiting gladly
for the auspicious weather of Christ
to meet me,
carrying nothing, new-born and
empty as light.

©Laura Sorrells 2012
all rights reserved

I got this found poem mostly from Annie Dillard's beautiful book Tickets for a Prayer Wheel, which I just ran across while looking through some old books of my mother's.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

morning prayer

Reverence draws out bliss.
Let the heat of the water on my neck in the morning be an engine for a righteous fire on behalf of my best efforts, my kindest impulses, and my truest hopes.
Let the taste of Greek yogurt and Grape Nuts I share with the dawn chorus remind me of every sweetness possible in the yearnings of sunrise over Sharptop.
Let the conversation I have with the barista who’s overwhelmed with latte orders be one of grounding humor and understanding.
Let the laughter I share with my students before the day begins be a chord of play and a cord of openness between us.
Let the hour I have to myself in the middle of the morning be a space for reclaiming my breath and honoring right livelihood with a little bit of stillness.
Let the ears I hear my students with be fresh and free of any judgment.
Let the air I share with the leaping deer in the meadow off Mineral Springs Road be clean and salvific, the kind of air that tells its own stories and makes them easy to hear, cool with coming October.
Let me understand my role in the sweep of the day with tenderness and fire, with patience and a lover’s soul.

This is something I wrote several years ago and tweaked tonight. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012


Tonight was the first night of autumn’s approach. Cool, windy, with wild golden light strobing across the smoky blue of Sharptop and the mountains around it. A rainbow, faint and tall, showed up over to my left as I drove past the Piggly Wiggly and across the train tracks. I went into town, parked my truck on Refuge Road, and walked into the fading light, towards the park and the haunted little pond with the one tree in it. As I walked I realized how hidden I’d let my vision become. I’d stepped away from the expansiveness of spirit with which I’ve always looked at this town, the sleepy little town my mother grew up in, the town I relocated to at thirty. I walked into the park. The tractor show is tomorrow so some men and their families were camping there with their RV’s, their folding camp chairs, and their ancient rusty John Deeres. I waved at the people I walked past and went up past the old county post office, which has been resettled in the middle of the park, and then down to the pond with the single tree. D. and I used to walk here. Of course I walked here before that too but this place has the silent singular energy he can carry. The tree had been pruned or cut but was still there in the middle of the little pond. The water was low and layered with algae. It was getting dark so I couldn’t tell what colors the algae held but I found myself glad that I wondered what they were. I walked through the woods up past the pond towards the firehouse and its big old barn and antique fire engines. I didn’t hang out there but turned and came back to the park and then up into town. This town is almost never in any kind of hurry, but there was a lonesome rush to the wind as I walked past the old county jail and the fountain that I jumped into one Fourth of July a couple of years ago. I had had on shorts and a bathing suit and no one seemed to mind. People waved nonchalantly to me. It was just getting dark then too. A little boy joined me after asking his daddy if he could. The water wasn’t deep. It felt good. I stood under the part of the fountain that brought water down from above and tried to coax D. into the fountain with me. He would have none of it, which surprised me. Remembering that night this evening I felt light and happy, strong and full of the quiet peace this past year's transformation has brought. Nothing is missing. The light is perfect as it changes.

©Laura Sorrells 2012
all rights reserved

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Little Cloud

I don’t know what the weather is going to do. Big winds share the twilight with small snow. Over in the next county, there’s a funnel cloud, but it’s moving slow, and it’s not very big, only a furrow of fast air, just enough spin to show up on someone’s radar. A blip of scarlet purling across an expanse of dark green. It seems somehow lonesome, like a feral animal searching for food in an unfamiliar place. I can feel it trying to show us the bluster of spring’s intermittent thunderheads in defiance of the bitterness of winter. If it doesn’t get much bigger, I wouldn’t mind having it around, a tumble of fast air playing by itself down in the woods. I could feed it errant tree limbs that other winds would blow down and surplus pine cones that I don’t feel like using for firewood or decoration for my lonely hearth. When spring gives way to summer this cloud will move along, or maybe it will just stop spinning, winding down in a gentle way that won’t take down any trees or splinter any houses into piles of hurt and toothy wooden beams. In its place would be a tousled spiral of forest floor, earth made messy with weather but not so much that I couldn’t plant something there if I wanted to. Maybe trillium, or moonvine, or something wild and thorny that I haven’t found the name for yet. I’ll know that seed when I see it: no need to search. These things have a way of finding me.

©Laura Sorrells 2009 
all rights reserved

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Limnologist

She conjures forth bubbles
of fire from frozen lakes.
I heard it on the radio,
circling the dark lanes
of a parking deck
at dusk. A big blue
Suburban nearly backed
into me as I listened to her
talk about the flare
of methane against
the Siberian sky,
just above tables
of dense Russian ice,
and how she freed
the gas from the face
of the invisibly
percolating lake. She is in love
with “the power of water
in its frozen and
unfrozen forms,” and she
unlocks it, standing back
as it lets her have itself—
a propulsion of conjured chemistry,
beloved and unsettling,
a threshold of flow, an ascent
of alchemical liquid strong
enough to free boulders
with the rise of its release.

©Laura Sorrells 2007--2012
all rights reserved

Sunday, September 2, 2012

This Leaf

This leaf is an atlas of small worlds that travel silently.
This leaf is a tabula rasa, a scrim of thinning blankness waiting for change.
This leaf is the empty swimming pool after Labor Day, a shape turned deeper by emptiness.
This leaf is the tilt of the bird-feeder’s wooden roof clambered on by squirrels, spinning from a cord of fraying rope.
This leaf is a patchwork quilt, or the lining of one, found at a thrift store and waiting for its cotton body.
This leaf is an acoustic guitar secretly yearning for the buzz of electricity.
This leaf is the pond that is filling back up with water after months of crackling drought.
This leaf is a plastic tugboat the color of a jack o’lantern, waiting to be mysteriously sunken in a small moat.
This leaf is a cloud fallen to earth, limning what it touches with the disappearance of winter.
This leaf is a mirror, cupping the shifts of seasons above it and showing them off to the sky.
This leaf is a skillet, sizzling with flour and waiting for the little green dice of homegrown okra to give it purpose and flavors.
This leaf is the lens you lost from your glasses last year when you were climbing up a rocky bank to take a picture of a tree.
This leaf is a band-aid, the last one left in your upper left hand desk drawer, handed to a child whose elbow wants to wear the face of Batman.
This leaf is a sandalwood mala, sagging over the splinters of a wooden bench beside a pond you used to visit, its crimson tassel fading into rose in rain.
This leaf is the chamois shirt your old lover gave you, left beside the trail tree in the forest, its buttery warmth befriending other leaves now.
This leaf is the chalice that you found in the basement, one of a pair, tarnished but waiting to hold something wet.
This leaf is the puddle you stepped in in sockfeet, the touch of cold that woke you up.
This leaf is a shard of pottery tucked against the base of a big old oak tree in what used to be a garden.
This leaf is an anchor, but not one that works real well.
This leaf is the kayak you fell out of on the Coosawattee River near some rocks and roaring water.
This leaf is a crimson prayer flag ripped down by wind from the branch of a poplar in your yard.
This leaf is a page from a book in another language.
This leaf is the raft of logs and twine you dream of floating away on when you’re restless.
This leaf is a riverstone, cool to touch and carried in the pocket of your peacoat in December.
This leaf is a circle of abalone smoking with sage.
This leaf is a lost wooden chesspawn  lonesome for bishops and knights.
This leaf is the story of threshold you love like the poem you memorized in April, the one that sang like an angel might, the one you wrote down in four different places so you could read it whenever you wanted. It knows how to keep you up late at night and tell you things you need to hear.
This leaf is the note in the bottle, the koan you floated away on a rising Sapelo Island tide.
This leaf resists being part of constructed art and does not enjoy the way tape feels between it and thick journal paper.
This leaf is the magnifying glass you carry around to see even smaller.
This leaf is the top of a fencepost, once a circle but splayed into broadness by seasons.
This leaf is a crumbling cabin of tannin, its roofbeams collapsing in on the space inside it.
This leaf is the adventure of touch, the challenge of handclasp and holding.
This leaf is a page from the book I write every day, the one where every word carries more than most people would be able to see, the one with the color of slow smoke and pondwater at its heart, the one synonymous with the best prayer I’ve offered, the one that holds my fingers captive and shows them what to do when they don’t know. No one will ever read it, but its chapters love the world I give it relentlessly and without fear, certain of the rightness of moments and the syllables of speech, determined to keep on talking even when its writer’s voice is soft with another poem’s hidden longing.

©Laura Sorrells 2012
all rights reserved

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About Me

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Georgia, United States
I live at the edge of the forest in a little town in the north Georgia mountains. I teach sixth grade Language Arts and am writing a memoir of sorts about family, spirituality, and narrative. I am also exploring a possible writing project having to do with contemporary lay contemplative experience and how it might be informed by the Desert Fathers and Mothers of early Christianity. I am a relatively recent convert to Roman Catholicism and an admirer of Pope Francis, Leonardo Boff, Joan Chittister, and Richard Rohr. I'm a Lay Associate of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Monastery in Conyers, Georgia. I am interested in indigenous cultures, narratives, and spirituality, especially how these can inform my spirituality as a lay contemplative. I write, read, take pictures, play around with creating ephemera from paper and cloth and other organic things. I cook, hike, watch wildlife, and collect random bits of interesting oddness, both tangible and abstract. I am a seer of smallness and a caretaker of ridiculous minutiae. If you want, e-mail me at or