Poetry: Labyrinth Walk

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.



Labyrinth Walk

The nun, who was no Ingrid Bergman,

warned us:

“Our labyrinth walk is not perfect.

The gravel path has weeds

and goose poop.  But then,

so does the journey

of life.”

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,

she promised).

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

toward Heaven.

–Maria Grace Mandarino

   November 2003