Ruth Forman brings us her beautiful poem in response to the theme of “Harvest” from Psalm 1:3.
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3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
In the teachings of my faith, the Baha’i Faith, work done in the spirit of service is considered worship to God. Psalms 1:3 instantly reminded me of one of Baha’u’llah’s Hidden Words:
“And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”
“O MY SERVANTS! Ye are the trees of My garden; ye must give forth goodly and wondrous fruits, that ye yourselves and others may profit therefrom. Thus it is incumbent on every one to engage in crafts and professions, for therein lies the secret of wealth, O men of understanding! For results depend upon means, and the grace of God shall be all-sufficient unto you. Trees that yield no fruit have been and will ever be for the fire.”
-Bahá’u’lláh, The Hidden Words, No. P80
This poem is both a prayer and a meditation/reflection. A prayer for my life work to feed and sustain others. It is also a reflection that for women around the world, so much of our work naturally sustains others. If work in the spirit of service is worship, may our souls also be fed.
Ruth Forman is the author of three award-winning books: poetry collections We Are the Young Magicians (Beacon, 1993) and Renaissance, (Beacon, 1997) and children’s book, Young Cornrows Callin Out the Moon (Children’s Book Press, 2007). She is the recipient of the Barnard New Women Poets Prize, The Pen Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Award, The Durfee Artist Fellowship, the National Council of Teachers of English Notable Book Award, and recognition by The American Library Association. She provides writing workshops at schools and universities across the country and abroad, and has presented in forums such as the United Nations, the PBS series The United States of Poetry and National Public Radio. Ruth is a former teacher of creative writing with the University of Southern California and June Jordan’s Poetry for the People program at UC Berkeley and an eleven-year faculty member with the VONA-Voices writing program. Also an MFA graduate of the University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television, she frequently collaborates on film, music, dance, theatre, art and media projects. Her latest collection is Prayers Like Shoes (2009) on Whit Press. When not writing and teaching, she practices a passion for martial arts: classical Yang family style tai chi chuan, tai chi sword, bo staff and karate. Ms. Forman currently lives in Washington, DC. ruthforman.com
Photo by Christine Bennett.