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LIGHT AND SHADOWS by Carolyn Riker

Four years ago, I submitted my first poem here...

I clearly remember my trepidation. It was a resounding self-doubt and a belly full of butterflies (all of which were wearing tiny squeaky blue sneakers). It was surreal as it was real. I ‘clicked’ send and away my poem went into a virtual world.

Little did I know, on the other end, Catherine would catch and hold and nurture my tender thoughts. I wasn’t exactly pulled together. My world was decomposing through a series of losses. Basically I was tethered by a thread no wider than a strand produced by the smallest silken caterpillar. She intuitively understood. I will never forget the kindness then and now. The handholding of sister to sister and a mentoring that was profoundly needed.

The poem I chose to share then was pulled from my ongoing journal. Journal writing is a safe place to expose my beliefs. It is a place where words hold each other and it gives me an introspective and meditative solace. In some way I felt that early poem, Song of the Birds, was apropos to my view of spirituality. Nature feeds my soul. I didn’t fully see then, but I do now; it was also time to set my word-wings free.

This memory was stirred by today’s sunrise and the advent of my debut book of poems. Once again, I hold a belly full of butterflies. (This time they are singing and there’s tiny bells ringing.) I am as anxious as I am excited. It is difficult to express how transformative, daunting and revealing this life’s journey has been. Nevertheless, I'm deeply grateful. For light and shadow are the fullness of it all.

Photographic artwork by Brooke Shaden 

Light and Shadows
by Carolyn Riker

On the cusp of dawn
and the hallow of golden
I am the essence of
ethereal and light.

I am also shadows
hitherto of new moon
befallen of insights;
it leads, endlessly anew.

I transcended into folds
of sky’s flannelled layers;
clouds of gray and blue
supplement my pulse.

Hope’s grace accompanies me
with nature’s reverie,
softly singing birdsong
warms the cup I hold.

I truly feel ancient
and young and holy
in this effervescent setting;
a touchpoint at the cusp of dawn.

Wisdom wraps
a prayer shawl
comforting and extending the rising
of my heart’s thoughts.

(Carolyn Riker's debut book of poems, Blue Clouds,  
is released this Thursday, December 1st, with Golden Dragonfly Press!)

Carolyn Riker M.A., LMHC is a counselor, teacher, writer and poet. She’s been a regular columnist for Rebelle Societyand prior to that several years at Elephant Journal. A collection of her work is available on her blog, Magic of Stardust and Words. Her poetry and prose has been featured in three books:  Journey of the Heart: An Anthology of Spiritual Poetry by Women. Where Journeys Meet: The Voice of Women's Poetry and Best of Rebelle Society, Volume I: Celebrating the Art of Being AliveBetween sips of coffee or tea and navigating life, Carolyn leads journal writing workshops, tutoring and has a private counseling practice. Additionally, she’s in the process of completing her first collection of poetry and prose. With the hopes of continued lunar inspiration and stars guiding her light, the book will be published in the fall of 2016. Carolyn can be reached via her e-mail address or on facebook here.  

~If you are interested in seeing your poetry appear in this blog, or submitting a poem by a woman that has inspired you, please click here for submission guidelines. I greatly look forward to hearing from you!~ 


  1. Absolutely beautiful Carolyn! Your words, the shawl itself. xo

    1. Dear Leslie, Thank you for your love and support. Words truly are a 'shawl' and the diversity of all of our voices very necessary!! xo ~ carolyn

    2. Carolyn, you are so welcome. Truly a gorgeous piece from your incredible heart. xo

  2. As always, your words lift me out of distraction and gently spiral me center-ward. Thank you!

    1. Tracie, I love how our words reach each other. Poet to Poet. What a friendship. Thank you! ~ Carolyn


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