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Karen Winterburn

First Prize in Category 2: 2010 Christian Publishers Poetry Prize $300

About this Christian Poet:
Karen Winterburn lives in Glenview, Illinois with her husband. They have four grown sons, three grandchildren and one on the way. Karen works in Adult Faith Formation and Bible Study in her parish, St. Catherine Laboure. She has written articles and contributed chapters to two books on evangelization and apologetics. She writes poetry as a means to understand and express a relationship with God. Her first homework assignment when she entered into spiritual direction was to write a poem about who God is to her and who she is to God. Since then, "Dance with Me" has been an important personal metaphor that has helped her to stay and grow in a relationship with God.

Dance with Me

I try to move with You into a poem.
The meter bursts: the poem, the dance askew;
your (not iambic) footfalls free-fall, roam
where everything and nothing rhymes with You.

Hold Me, dancer. Our space-time pas-de-deux:
delectable! Each move a poem, a grand
measure of the Measureless that we two
confect. Stay with Me, dancer. Understand
the One the world cannot contain is in your hand.

But mystery and falling dark conceal
your face. Poem-words assigned to You—for whom
none dare presume to speak—are mine, reveal
conceit, whirl doubt round this phantom ballroom.
Fool's hope: I make myself your nom-de-plume,
fancy You breathed-out poem's words, am content
to dance alone for both bride and Bridegroom.
But fools can foil the dark, their doubt repent
when trace of Poet's breath that lingers bears your scent.

Closer, dancer. Don't demur. Second-guess
stumbles here and obscures our metaphor.
More's at stake than poem: I dance to caress
the moments of you, sweep and soak the shore
you share with those closed to Me. Take your poor
Partner's unseen hand while we have twilight.
Let Me salve your eyes, bandage them before
we dance again, assuage your doubt. Faith's quite
fit blind: a keener eye to open in the night.

Copyright ©2010 by Karen Winterburn