This is an archive of all poems published to my wordpress feed; I’ll update this page regularly.
I welcome you to make use of any poetry shared here in worship services, classes or presentations, or other public settings. Please credit Avery Arden and link to binarybreakingworship.com (and remember that my pronouns are they/them).
I love to hear about how my work is being used! It’s not necessary, but if you want to let me know you’ve used one of my poems, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My work here is also completely free, but if you’d like to send a few bucks my way in thanks, you can do so at https://ko-fi.com/averyarden.
Table of Contents
Relating to & wrestling with God
- “if you are content now
- you will be devastated then
- for when the world is flipped upside-down
- all your riches will go spilling into space…”
- “…Jesus, you felt the world’s weight across your shoulders
even heavier than the rest of us.
you took the time
to row yourself into the sea’s dark belly
and let her cradle you…”
- Written during my internship as a hospital chaplain.
- Inspired by Psalm 131 and Gospel stories where Jesus withdraws from crowds to pray and rest.
- A poem that wrestles with God in the face of suffering
- “my God, you better be ready when i come
and stand before you face to face at last
because you know how many questions i have for you
and you know the very first that will
burst from my lips will be
- A poem from the perspective of Lot’s wife on the power of bearing witness & wrestling with complicated scripture passages
- God our Beloved,
you hold out your hands
with the wounds that mark your solidarity with us,
to accept us into your arms as one spouse takes another.
- “O World’s Restorer, Status quo’s Demise,
you look into our minds, survey our assumptions and our plans
and you throw back your head and laugh.
You do not reveal your Wisdom
to the ones the world calls wise.
(They would not know what to make of it, anyway.)…”
Goodness of Creation & embodied life
- “…We forget that
God’s world has spent more time without us
than with us —
and that the world was glorifying God
those billions of years without us, as surely as
it glorifies God with us now…”
- “…tell me how you’ll lavish me in blessings
only lavished upon those
who arise and go…”
- “preparing tea is its own kind of prayer –
one that heat and water pray for you.
the kettle’s keening. laughter bubbling up. the steady sigh of water
as it folds into the cup. …”
- A meditation for one of life’s simple pleasures — part of my effort to expand my understanding of prayer beyond the formal.
- “…i’ve never understood
how they can read Your declaration “Good!
very Good!” …
then paint Your heaven sterile white
as far as eye can see!
unbroken vault of neutralizing light
devoid of all the variegating shades
and creatures that You made with Your own breath
and eons of delight. …”
Disability centered poems
- based on Luke 14’s vision of God’s table packed with guests with a whole variety of disabilities, imagining a world where all needs are met.
- A poem celebrating autistic ways of worship, paralleling them with David’s dance before the Ark of the Covenant
Queer centered poems
- Fighting damaging silence, honoring formative silence
- “…As for me and my house,
we will dig and dig and dig and free
the ones whom we have buried
with the sin of all the times that we have failed…”
- “men who claimed to know the Word of God
and where it lay took me to stand above
a valley of dry bones…”
- Reclaiming scripture from those who use it to harm us by finding the good news within
- “Queer Mother! – a motherhood thicker than
blood, deeper than the waters of the womb,
a relationship fashioned by a shared Yes
to disgrace, a fervent Yes
to the hard but healing path to holiness…”
- i have repurposed the rope
- they tried to hang me with
into a swing that children
take turns swinging on.
Lent / Holy Week
- “there is something liberating
about being dust…”
- “…so come. teach us
to make an upper room
of any room we’re trapped in…”
- Written during pandemic
- “…I don’t know if I could take their feet
in my hands,
kneel before them in a pose of the same lowliness
they often make me feel
and wash their feet
just as you did for your friends, who would very soon abandon you. …”
- “…your death matters, your death is precious
because it was common, ordinary —
you share the agony
of every tortured spirit who has ever walked this earth…”
- Good Friday poem about Jesus’s solidarity with all who are criminalized, executed
- “my God,
would it be odd
if i prayed for you?
Jesus, heart of my heart,
heart of all the cosmos – your heart
- “…this moment matters:
your brown body
with the breath pressed out
by the inexorable boot of Empire
and the moment that comes after
cannot ease this one…”
- This “poetic prose” reflection for Easter Sunday draws from John 20 and Isaiah 56.
- “As Mary Magdalene sits alone in the predawn stillness, she weeps — but her tears are not only grief: they are tears of frustration. Tears with questions. Tears that demand something of Divinity. Mary is not passive in her weeping: she is wrestling the divine…”
- Written upon realizing that the first days of Chanukah and Advent coincided this year
- “As a child packs a snowball
tight and firm and
cold seeping even through their mittens
once packed the Universe
into a ball scarce larger than
the pomegranates that had yet to burst
“Advent: A time to embrace the Divine in us” (Poetic prose)
- “If Lent is a time to admit to our Dust…
perhaps Advent can be a time to embrace our Splendor:
our intimate connection to Divinity who gave birth to us,
who calls us Good and calls us to be better,
who is the breath within our lungs and the warmth in dancing bodies…”
- “…Was Mary meek and mild?
Not if those words are about
unquestioning submission, fearful passivity.
Only if those words are about inner power,
restrained for the sake of the vulnerable –
not the power of violence
but the power of compassion…”
- “Mary, teen mom, against whom every packed inn turned its back, about whom, maybe, neighbors laughed
and mothers told their daughters, “Don’t be like her”
(spitting your name like a nasty thing)…”
“God’s vastness, fearsome and comforting” (Poetic prose)
- Remembering our smallness before God; the smallness of God as Jesus; God’s deep love for the little ones
Nativity, Christmas Season
- A poem that explores an alternative reading of Luke’s nativity text — one that suggests Jesus was born not in a stable, but in the chaotic heart of a peasant home.
- “…we like it better when you wait for us
in remote places we can journey to
when we are ready…”
- “As I prayed through different versions of the Nativity story, with all their contradictions — a painless Mary versus a groaning Mary; Mary alone or Mary with midwives; Mary dismissed to the outskirts or settled in the heart of a Bethlehemite home — they all found their place, side-by-side…”
- A poem that playfully imagines Mary’s experience with Joseph’s family in Bethlehem, based on an alternative reading of Luke’s nativity text.