Questions to Ask When Waking by Bernadette Miller

What would you do if you really knew
that life was wanting to sing through you?

What would you say if your words could convey
prayers that the world was waiting to pray?

What would you be if your being could free
some piece of the world’s un-whispered beauty?

What would you stop to bless and caress
if you believed that blessing could address
our painful illusions of brokenness?

What would you harvest from heartache and pain
if you understood loss as a way to regain
the never-forsaken terrain of belonging?

What would you love if your love could ignite
a sea full of stars on the darkest night?

Questions to Ask When Waking

Well, you probably know by now how much I love poems that ask important questions that I can’t really answer but which awaken my whole being. And of course the best time to hear such questions is in those early moments of waking before we are stolidly in our everyday routines, that liminal space where we are neither here nor there.

Each question begins with What would you do… or say or be or stop or harvest or love. Honestly, each one of these exquisitely crafted questions is enough to fill me up with wonder and carry me through my day. I especially love some piece of the world’s un-whispered beauty. There is so much beauty that is self-evident, reliable, traditional, but what of the unspoken beauties that are more hidden?

Can you believe that blessing could address / our painful illusions of brokenness? If we stopped to bless with our attention what we believe to be broken, would we find that it was whole? And then loss, that universal heartache, if we could understand it as a doorway into the never-forsaken terrain of belonging, understanding that we are not abandoned in our grief.

What would you love if it could ignite / a sea full of stars on the darkest night, if loving this world would bring more light (for how could it not), if your words could convey prayers? Is there a question here for you to wrestle with, to awaken you to some new understanding so that you know that life was wanting to sing through you?

14 thoughts on “Questions to Ask When Waking by Bernadette Miller

  1. Oh Jan. I love this poem. It brings me home to myself and most importantly to others who I want to read it so they too can see how precious and valuable they are to this world. Thank you for this soul service you offer to us.

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    • How precious and valuable we all are to this world Melodie, thank you for expressing this and for your encouragement to do this work, which is pure pleasure for me 🙂 love, Jan

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  2. Beautiful poem.
    “…What would you love if your love could ignite / a sea full of stars on the darkest night?”
    I love this line. Thank you Jan. Love you, Lisa

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  3. Great questions. I am having to dig deep to find a question to ponder. I do find the questions hopeful. In a writing class we free wrote on what is our longing. I was in a dark place and said I long to find a longing. I was honest then I wrote more and felt hopeful. This poem made me think of longing again.
    Thanks

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