Turning Toward the Tree of Life

We turn and turn the kaleidoscope of our lives
Our prayers, our deeds, our hopeful hearts
Shards of holiness tumble together 
  creating the patterns of our lives.

When colors fade and the pattern breaks 
We turn and turn and turn again.
Repentance and forgiveness turn together
 creating new patterns for our lives.

The Tree of Life is guarded carefully
Safe within the gates of Eden
But its roots reach out, grow through the earth, 
Holiness reaching to the edge of Time.

We are the ones who nourish the Tree
Guard the roots and till the soil.
We are the ones to turn and turn
Creating the patterns on the Tree of Life.

This poem was inspired by the song “Tree of Life,” by Eric Peltoniemi. The song is part of a play by Lance S. Belville, “Plain Hearts: Songs and Stories of Midwestern Prairie Women.” Tree of Life is a traditional quilt pattern and the song speaks of women coming together to make them. The last stanza is what spoke to me—not just as it relates to women, but to all the people through history who have been marginalized and whose work has not been valued, but who still create such lasting beauty.

“We’re only known as someone’s mother,
Someone’s daughter or someone’s wife.
But with our hands and with our vision,
  We make the patterns of the Tree of Life.”

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