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Celebrating National Poetry Month!

poetry-monthSome people bristle like a porcupine or wrinkle up their noses when they hear the word “poetry.” Others light up, as though hungry for a gourmet taste of words.

Creating three-dimensional word pictures, poetry combines musical qualities with visual and other sensory attentiveness to detail. Some poems are as simple as a child’s drawing. Others, more exquisite, resemble those created by an artist painter or a National Geographic photographer.

Fluid as water and versatile as a chameleon, poetry is incredibly diverse in its expression. Poetry can tickle a funny bone, but also provide deep, intimate insights into human experience. It counts as close friends: creativity, beauty, wonder and wisdom. Spiritually, it can be as profound as Saint John of the Cross’ rendering of The Dark Night. Poetry is no stranger to courage when providing social critique that pierces complacency and challenges the status quo. And when sorrow knocks at one’s door, writing or reading poetry can be a soothing and comforting companion.

I’ve been blessed to have several poets in my family ancestry. A relative, Mina J. Cook, wrote more than 60 poems during the Civil War. Her book of poetry sheds light on her spiritual journey. In it, she shares the joys and many sorrows of her daily life in the 1860s, including her experience of having two sons and other relatives serving in the war.

My own poetry expresses my love of nature and my passion for spirituality and social justice. I consider this a special grace in my life and it has become an integral part of my prayer and my ministry.

I now invite you to enjoy “Spring Symphony,” a poem by Sister Rose Michele Boudreau (RIP) that expresses so well one of the frequent rites of April springtime.


a raindrop strikes an open leaf

and it quivers with delight.



GOD plays on the leafy keyboard

with swollen drops of rain

providing silent music

for the eye

as thunder produces

a bass-pedal accompaniment

rolling in from here and there

now clear and loud and awesome

now muffled in distance.

tapping on the rooftop skylight

the drumming rhythm changes


gusting with a stronger beat.

the seeds hid-safe in new-tilled soil

sigh and stretch

straining against their hard coats

in the struggle to be born.

a sheet of white light curtains

my forest view … fulminating.

a resounding crack and drum roll

sends startled shivers through my bones.




And a quiet steady coda

of soft falling drops lulls me

to security under the wing

of her who has kept me safe.

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Sister Donna Butler

Sister Donna Butler has been a Sister of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods for more than 60 years. Sister Donna has served in elementary education, parish ministry, diocesan social justice, as well as the Congregation’s liturgy office, archives department and social justice outreach. She also administered as the director of the Providence Volunteer Ministry. Sister Donna currently volunteers in outreach with Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College students.

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  1. Lori Strawn on April 13, 2016 at 10:48 am

    Words cannot express how much I love this post and poem! Thank you, S. Donna!

  2. Linda Drummy on April 13, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    Perfect poem for April and National Poetry Month. Thanks for sharing.

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