I wrote this poem over ten years ago, after attending a moonlit labyrinth walk at a convent on the East End of Long Island. Recently, while talking with a friend about my plans to begin training in Spiritual Direction next year, the topic of that labyrinth walk came up, inspiring me to dig up this poem. It seemed appropriate to share here, especially since we have just seen a full moon this past week and we are deep into autumn. I hope you enjoy it.
The nun, who was no Ingrid Bergman,
“Our labyrinth walk is not perfect.
The gravel path has weeds
and goose poop. But then,
so does the journey
She winked and waved us on.
We followed, lemmings
into the cold November night,
flashlights in hand, coat collars turned up,
socks double thickness,
as the full moon rose
over Hampton Bay.
Forming a circle first and setting
our intentions as the nun instructed,
we called upon the ancients
who roamed the land (they were never more
than a foot and a half away from us,
We walked in silence
and finally reached the aluminum wash tub
in the center, filled with a network of dried twigs.
The nun bent to light them.
Flames caught slowly at first,
then rose high,
thin ribbons cutting the night;
eager spirits spiraling
–Maria Grace Mandarino