LGBT/queer My poetry

poem: whippoorwill blessing

if i follow the call of the whippoorwill
out from our burrow of blankets and slow breathing

over and into the shirt
shrugged over sleepy shoulders

downstairs to the kettle snoring steam
for the tea steeping in its yawning mug

out, out! past the screen door
anointed in moth-kisses
into a slowly waking world

will a blessing be out there, waiting?

whippoorwill, are you calling me to go
stirring my spirit as I stir this golden tea

as the sun shrugs its golden shoulders
over mountains?

whippoorwill, tell me, tell me how
you’ll bless me!
and you, dove with your mournful morning croon,
you, creek with the laughter bubbling up
from your valley nook below —

tell me how you’ll lavish me in blessings
only lavished upon those
who arise
and go.

here i go.

I wrote this poem on the getaway trip my wife and I took into the mountains of Northeast Georgia for our 2-year anniversary a couple weeks ago. The first evening we spent in our little cabin nestled in the trees, we heard a bird calling that neither of us had heard before – but my wife correctly guessed what it was because the call really did sound like “whip-poor-will.” That next morning, I awoke very early to the sound of that same bird calling. I stayed in bed a little longer, burrowed safe beside the love of my life, and then I rose to follow the call outward.

There truly is a special blessing in the world for those who awake early not to head off to work but to take that first inhale with the dawn…you can believe in the aliveness and interconnectedness of all things in that early morning glow. I felt Divinity all around as I made my way to the creek a little ways away from the cabin.

My poetry

poem: tea prayer

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.

see the steam raise its arms to embrace
the sunlight peering in through kitchen window?

those swaying arms enact a psalm of praise
clear as voice or timbrel, or clapping trees of the field.

see how the water blushes, rich and brown,
as the sachet swirls within?

likewise are we saturated through
with Spirit when we open to Her dance.

each mundane task, each daily chore or act
overflows with blessing.

the whole world thrums with gratitude for God
Who permeates the stream, the steam, the sunbeam’s heat –

Who was with the leaves when they unfurled from the twig
to taste the pulse of the earth, its breath and light;

Who was with them when a hand reached up and plucked,
and Who is with them still, as they swirl within the cup.

If you use this piece, please credit it to Avery Arden and link this website. I also invite you to email me at to let me know how you’re using it!

Hear Avery read this poem on YouTube.

About this poem: This piece is about how tasks as mundane as preparing tea can become a prayer. I was inspired to write it by Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg’s discussion of how Jewish law fosters mindfulness and orients a person towards God. I was also influenced by Sister Macrina Wiederkehr’s discussions on divinity within mundanity in A Tree Full of Angels.