Poems by Helen Overell

These poems are hosted by the Contemplative Spirituality Network as part of the Arts Community Project.


Each of us

Each of us a lens through which
we see the world of another,

each of us a lamp by which
we guide the steps of another,

each of us bone-clad, breath-bound,
our song resonant with lives already lived,

each of us a bead on a thread
with no end or beginning,

each of us a ripple on a pool
as deep as the ocean,

each of us a word on a tongue
whose language is for all,

each of us a bell sounded
in both fog and fine weather,

each of us feet firm
on our own paths, bathed in light.

Helen Overell


Reading by Helen Overell




And so there is inward sight
and what depth of colour
flows and fills
the heart

and this is different
from unwanted excess
caught on the snag
of a nail;

and within the silence
there is the thread of song,
as though a lark
on the wing

in some far reach of sky,
at one with light and life,
pours out her soul
and gathers

sound into beads of amber
and amethyst, jade and bone,
banded pebble,

Helen Overell


Reading by Helen Overell




And withal
in my cupped hands
a globe as of glass
gentle with light

the still of the moment
steady as flame
draws my heart

and therein
all is calm and clear
filled with grace -
my soul sings

and the past
stays without in pieced
parts, tumbled

and so too
the as yet unknown;
and knowledge of love
steadies bone,

eases thirst
and the world turns
and thy work waits
to be done.

Helen Overell


Reading by Helen Overell



Life within

“…what you see with your inner eyes…” Hildegard of Bingen

That small flame lighting the darkness,
the scent of beeswax and wild roses –
and these fragile and untamed –
wind and rain from all quarters

and still the candle burns on –
vulnerable, steeped in perseverance –
here in the vast and unknowable
wilderness, unable

to do other than be what the years
have given, grow towards life
with no end, no beginning;
a glimmer, a hold-fast

weathered witness with stumbled
heart – breath-bright ember –
channelled to the core,
enfolded in light.

Helen Overell


Reading by Helen Overell



The heart is a castle

Francisco de Osuna (1497-1541)

The heart is a castle, a tower,
and has three gates, and a seraph
on guard at each one, full of fire,
ready to deflect the lance of fear
that disturbs the inner courtyard
with dust swirls, the freighted
arrows of hunger that batter
the wood of the will with urges
to be perfect, admit no mistake,
the barbed spears that distort
thought. And so, within, a tall
tree, three-fold shade, the treble
murmur of clear spring water,
star-depths in a still pool.

Helen Overell


Reading by Helen Overell




And in this love that embraces
the all of another, that sees
into the heart, senses the ache
fed by fear that stifles thought;

in this held moment, in the still
space, tugged by the thread of truth,
words begin to lift from the tongue
on wings rimmed with gold;

in this fragment of any life,
no matter how short or long,
the warmth of a look enfolds us,
life-giving laughter wells up,

spills over in droplets of light
that hold us, our disparate worlds,
the sky and all the stars as one,
and we know as we are known.

Helen Overell


Reading by Helen Overell