prayer for radical courage (audio 3:36)

Joan of Arc (Faith), by Annie Louisa Swynnerton, 1900-1905

in all things, may i travel unarmored and unafraid,
settled into a quiet cradle
whose gentle sway bears the mark of the mother’s hand

let my mind be emptied of false truths and accusations
stripped free of nagging encumbrance
my essence naked and alive in original, unswaddled glory

if i am called to a gate that refuses to open,
let me turn peaceably in another direction
and be piloted by the stars
that illumine my oft-weary soul

if the storms of liberation demand
that no prisoners be taken,
let me raise the sword of truth
with clear-eyed compassion
for myself and those with whom
i can walk no longer

grant me the steadfast courage to endure
this long, unwinding dance
to remain unassailed amid the dizzying
of the everyday,
to sift through an onslaught
of disconcordant ambiguity
until i discover in its silken folds
the glimmer of the familiar
as it beckons my heart toward home,
allow me to hear my name
sung in tones adamantine
and to answer with the radiant grace
of ten thousand suns

in all things, let me unflinchingly distinguish
the real from the unreal
loosen that which aches to be untied
and tether the hitherto unsustainable,
relinquish lingering hypnosis to fresh wind
and flowing sails
and the resurrection of all
once thought dead and gone

if unbridled courage be the blossom
of an irrepressible heart,
let me whisper sweet, sad
goodbyes to the old
and issue fervent welcome to the new,
let me be strong and wise and
sufficiently unsettled
that i may revision and revolutionize
the very underpinning
of my unquenchable, exquisite design

in all things, may my spirit offer up a refuge
where courage can take root and thrive,
where i may lower a smooth-edged plow
into fertile emptiness
and be pleased by whatever greets me
in the dew of an immaculate morn

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