Shawna Atteberry

Baker, Writer, Teacher

Blogging Advent: Wisdom has built for herself a house

2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16; Luke 1:46b-55 or Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26; Romans 16:25-27; Luke 1:26-38
Year B, Advent 4

“The Holy Spirit had to come upon [Mary] and the power of the Most High had to overshadow her so that Wisdom might build [herself] a house and the Word might become flesh” (From the Letters of St. Leo the Great).

madonna and childWisdom Has Built for Herself a House

Wisdom has built for herself a house
In the womb of a young girl.
A young girl strong and brave
A young girl who said yes.

Wisdom has built for herself a house
In the song of a young girl:
“The powerful are humbled, the lowly lifted
The hungry fed, the rich emptied.”

Wisdom has built for herself a house
In a manger tucked in a cave
Where animals provide warmth and music,
And shepherds praise her newborn king.

Wisdom has built for herself a house
Under the noses of the powerful:
Herod the power hungry couldn’t thwart her
Caesar the almighty was oblivious to her building.

Wisdom has built for herself a house
In the journey of the Magi.
Traveling by her light, seeking her truth,
Bowing to a child in his humble home.

Wisdom has built for herself a house
Where the hungry are fed
And the lowly are raised.
Will you join them at the table?

Wisdom has built for herself a house:
Will you powerful be humbled?
Will you who are full be emptied?
Will you come in and eat at the table?

(c) 2014 Shawna R. B. Atteberry

A New Years Poem from Christina Rosetti, 1858

Watch with me, men, women, and children dear,
You whom I love, for whom I hope and fear,
Watch with me this last vigil of the year.
Some hug their business, some their pleasure scheme;
Some seize the vacant hour to sleep or dream;
Heart locked in heart some kneel and watch apart.

Watch with me, blessed spirits, who delight
All through the holy night to walk in white,
Or take your ease after the long-drawn fight.
I know not if they watch with me: I know
They count this eve of resurrection slow
and cry ‘How long?’ with urgent utterance strong.

Watch with me, Jesus, in my loneliness:
The others say me nay, yet say Thou yes;
Those others pass me by, stop Thou to bless.
Yea, Thou dost stop with me this vigil night;
To-night of pain, to-morrow of delight:
I, Love, and Thine, Thou Lord my God, art mine.

Happy New Year my dear readers. –Shawna

Feast of the Holy Innocents: Rachel still weeps

RachelWeeping“The light shines into the darkness,
And the darkness did not overcome it.”

That does not mean
The darkness didn’t try.
The darkness was not overcome
…without a fight.
It fought through Herod–
It’s constant companion;
A wonderful ally
Was Herod to the dark.
A threat to the throne
He’d killed so many
He murdered his own children.
What were a few more in Bethlehem?

“A voice was heard in Ramah,
wailing and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children,
she refused to be consoled,
because they are no more.”

Rachel still weeps today
She still refuses to be consoled.
Why should she?
Her children are still slaughtered–
By drones in Pakistan,
By guns in Newtown.
Oh yes, the light shines into the darkness
And the darkness fights on.
Godde cries at each Holy Innocent lost
Because we love Herod more than Christ.

A Christmas Poem

"Virgin on the Green Cushion" by Andrea Solario

“Virgin on the Green Cushion” by Andrea Solario

Wisdom builds herself a house.
A holy place of tissue and muscle
A sacred place of blood and water
Working patiently, she weaves away
Chiseling bone, sculpting sinew.

Wisdom builds herself a house.
Enlarging, expanding, developing
Beating heart, pumping lungs
Counting out ten little fingers
Ten little toes.

Wisdom builds herself a house.
And bids us: “Come and dine!
“Eat of my bread!
“Drink of my wine!
“Be happy, be healthy, be wise!”

Wisdom builds herself a house.
In a cave in Bethlehem.
She lit it with a star
And bids those with eyes to see:

©2012 Shawna R. B. Atteberry, all rights reserved.

Poetry: Hail Holy Mothers

This is the poem I wrote for my spiritual foremothers: Mary, mother of Christ; St. Brigid of Kildare; St. Hildegard von Bingen; St. Teresa of Avila; and Florence Nightingale. It seemed appropriate for All Saints’ Day.

St. Teresa of Avila by Janet McKenzie

Hail Holy Mothers!
Trail blazers!

Women of fire;
Women of God’s Word:
Receiving God’s Word
Nurturing God’s Word
Giving birth to God’s Word.

Women of the shield:
Defending God’s Word,
Not with sword,
But with exhortation
With rebukes
With wise counsel.

Mothers, Defenders of our faith!
You stand around me–
Showing the way

Sisters, mothers, friends:
You wait for us
Bidding us come;
come take your hands
and enter eternity together.
(c)2008 Shawna R. B. Atteberry

All these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect. Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us (Hebrews 11:39–12:1).

Who are your spiritual foremothers? How do they draw you closer to God? How do they spark your creativity?

Originally posted on May 28, 2008

Poetry: Daughter of Mary Magdalene

Today is the feast day for Mary Magdalene, the Apostle to the Apostles. This poem was inspired by Mary.

“Daughter of Mary Magdalene”

I want to be a bearer of the gospel.
It doesn’t matter if I bear children.
I want to fulfill my vows to God,
And not have my calling dependent on a man.
As Mary (who had no man) I want to proclaim
I want to shout and shine with love–
The love of a risen Savior
Who has called me as a person in my own right.
I hear the voice of my risen Savior:
“Come follow Me.
Follow Me away from the expectations
Follow Me away from those who limit you
Follow Me into glorious possibilities
Beyond your imagination.
I called you because I wanted you
Not a package deal.
Come, follow Me, and I will be your desire.”
As Mary I come to You
My risen Lord
My risen Lover.
I cast off the images of what I should be
And revel in the truth of who I am:
A bearer of Your good news.

© 2003 by Shawna Renee Bound

Requiem for Donna Carter

SHE died,—this was the way she died;
And when her breath was done,
Took up her simple wardrobe
And started for the sun.

Her little figure at the gate
The angels must have spied,
Since I could never find her

Upon the mortal side.
~~Emily Dickinson

Donna Carter

Requiem for Donna

Donna died–this was the way she died:
In her sleep she smiled, reaching
For JoAnn’s hand one last time.
Letting go her hand, letting go life.

Wings unfurled to the skies
Donna was free, climbing higher
To her home and to her God.
Not to be seen on this mortal side.
~~Shawna R. B. Atteberry

Rest in peace my beloved cousin.

Poetry Party 47: Companion

It’s Poetry Party over at Abbey of the Arts. This week’s theme “Ode to Animal Wisdom” is in honor of the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, which was on Monday. Many churches (including mine) have pet blessings on the Sunday closest to Francis’ feast. This week’s picture is of the paws of Christine’s doggie, Abbess Petunia.


I hear the soft pad of paws
on the hard wood floor
And know I’m not alone.

©2010 Shawna R. B. Atteberry

Here is a picture of me and my companion, Victoria, doing our favorite Sunday afternoon activity:

Poetry Party 47: Remember

Christine Valters at Abbey of the Arts has started her weekly poetry parties back up. Each week she posts a picture, and gives us until Friday to write a poem and link up. On Friday she draws a name to win a fabulous prize (normally one of her books or journals). This week’s theme is Autumn Blessings, and here is the hauntingly beautiful picture with my poem following.


Remember! The wind howls through the canyon of the city:
Remember the roads you traveled,
Who you were,
And who you are.

Remember! the wind whispers through the leaves and along the graves:
Remember where you came from,
Those you come from,
And those who came before.

Remember to honor the saints and your ancestors:
Remember to raise a glass,
Eat with them,
And pray with them.

Remember how the veil thins and briefly you see the unseeable–
Remember the old magic–
The Other World comes close;
Be quiet and listen.

© 2010 by Shawna R. B. Atteberry

Poem: In the Beginning Was

I spent most of this week in the book of Proverbs. Dame Wisdom and the Wise Woman of Proverbs 31 inspired this poem.

“In the Beginning”

In the beginning there was


In the beginning there was


In the beginning

The Spirit brooded
Godde spoke
And Wisdom cheered

In the beginning was Godde

And Wisdom was with Godde
Before She was rationalized into

The Word

Before She was reduced to

A Housewife

In the beginning was Godde and Wisdom

Saying, “It is good.”

(c)2009 by Shawna R. B. Atteberry

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