- Kathleen Henderson Staudt
- I work as a teacher, poet and spiritual director at a number of institutions in the DC area. My teaching focuses in various ways on writing, poetry, Spirituality and Christian vocation and ministry - especially from the point of view of the laity. I also offer classes and retreats encouraging people to explore their inner lives, engage their creativity and reflect on their beliefs about God, vocation, and how we can discern and pursue new ways to transform our broken world. I enjoy speaking of faith in the secular academy as well as reminding those preparing for ministry in the Church that our primary purpose is to love and serve the world beyond the church's doors. I love helping people to grow in faith and to find their own voices, and I also love encouraging them to use their minds. I see no contradiction between these impulses, believing as I do that faith, reason and creativity work together.
Four Poems from Good Places by Kathleen H Staudt (Finishing Line Press, 2017)
Poems from Good Places by Kathleen Henderson Staudt (Finishing Line Press, 2017). Please seek permission before sharing beyond class)
Evening on the Patio
Classes are over. It is June, and I breathe faint citronella scent, taste the sweet crunch of
cold vanilla ice cream, sharp chocolate crust of a melting Klondike bar, my summer luxury. Solitary here, I rest and watch grey-green twilight, silhouettes of holly, rhododendron, and the darkening spruce, its pale cones shimmering as twilight comes. Catbirds call and squirrels chatter, high among the leaves. Bats flutter. Swallows dart across the silvering sky. A cardinal on a mulberry branch calls out to his mate, as fireflies twinkle on.
The night's first coolness brushes my skin, breaking the day's heat. I breathe in slowly,
breathe in the summer, slowing down. Breathe and listen. Listen and rest.
Breathe. Listen. Rest.
Out on the patio, surrounded by green
after last evening’s violent storm
The air washed clean
I listen to wren song, crow caw, squirrel quarrel
Wings flutter, tails scurry, chirp, peep, scold
Beltway traffic drones and roars
White noise, half heard beyond the birds
A low continuo.
Soothed by the coos of mourning doves
I watch and listen here
On the patio, surrounded by green
After last evening’s violent storm
The air washed clean
O Wisdom, without words,
meet me at your door.
Lead me to your dwelling place
book lined, and candle-lit
To the room where I can close the door
and be at home.
Show me out into the open hall
Where welcome guests will come
To feast and be at home
Around a table laid for all
Draw me out to the light filled space
Between rooftop and sky
Where treetops are companions
And birds come to be fed
Glassed in, skylit,
A thinned out place
Where I can meet each morning
Washed in light.
All Souls Day
Days of the dead this autumn
Follow the waning storm
I gaze up through the skylight
At the tulip tree
Almost bare, its lingering leaves
Beside me, tops of feathered yews
Grown tall, create a screen
Between us and our neighbors.
Evergreens will hedge me round
Every winter morning.
Quieted, protected, I look down to the yard
Greet the day and the seasons ahead:
Seasons of elections, of thanks-givings
Family and saints
Visiting, abiding here.
The mystery draws inward now
Sheltered from the chilling air
That streams between the dappled clouds
Of this November sky.