White lily sepalled in blue linen, the moon and stars swaddled by sky, you sing to us of innocence and grace, of fierce obedience and the greatest “Yes,” ever given. May it be as you have said. Let the lowly come crowding in, hailing your sweet fragrance, and the rich and mighty leave with nothing. First holy host, round and glowing, we await the birthing of God’s son from you, even as we wait upon our own mustard seeds of faith to grow to fullness. May you always be wrapped in the majestic colour of lapis lazuli that adorns the throne room floor, and be fitted as the Queen of Heaven.
Text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt Composite art “Mary and Joseph” by R R Wyatt © used with permission.
Creating Encounter in Colour: Robin Redbreast
Your sacred heart emblazoned in scarlet feathers, a bib of tomato-soup brightness where the embers of the Christ-child’s fire were brushed just in time from your chest. Caught light inside though, where the chambers of love beat loudly, bursting into song that lifts us higher than we know how to be. Beauty given breath from beauty, catching us up into the heavenly realms, a foretaste of flight and joyful worship we can only approach in wonder, sidling towards an understanding like an opera fan listening at the stage door or Moses peeking at God’s glory from a cleft in the rock.
Text and artwork © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt Painting inspired by a reference photo by Paul Green, with kind permission. The text is an excerpt from my book of devotionals, Garden of God’s Heart.
Creating Encounter in Colour: Sunflower
A golden amphitheatre, a cloud of witnesses to the movement of the sun, charioting its way across the heavens.
Such an eye, and what seeing, beholding with your compound vision, the wonders of the above, and then folding in on yourself once the light fades, to contemplate all that has passed before you, storing the treasure up for later.
As you age, you learn that facing the right way is just one aspect of life, and you may safely receive whilst gazing even at the ground. Everything is, after all, soaked in the sacredness of sky. Countenance shining from holy transference, glowing with God, a Mosaic face, blessed by glory.
Spiralling seeds begun here will feed us, and flocks of birds, with concentrated wisdom. The sun’s sagacity caught and held, the wisdom of a blooming marvel. All of this within a head that knows when to adore and when to bow, how to let inner green and beauty go, thence to shrivel into ingredients for angel seed cake, still captivating every painter’s heart.
Text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt Photo from Pixabay
Creating Encounter in Colour: Rainbow Trout
Speckled rainbow breathing water and knowing better than we do how to let it flow, gills gently moving in and out. Skin that reminds me of the surface of puddles settled under cars, driven off and leaving swathes of oily colour. Did God paint you to remind us of his promises, made to all life, no exceptions? Or have you just absorbed so much of the spectrum in your swim, bathing in pools kissed by sunlight, that it cannot help but ooze out?
Gliding in places we cannot find, secret eddies and glittering ponds fringed with the long tears of the willow that tinge and tickle your spotted hide with olive green, you spend your days gilded by mystery. You flick your fronded tail at disgruntled anglers, speeding past them with your raspberry stripes, making me glad we are now fishers of people, and can let you wend your rivery way onwards, supple and gleaming.
© Keren Dibbens-Wyatt Photo from Pixabay
Creating Encounter in Colour: Gold
I keep on digging, paddling my way into the wet demerara, this sea-soaked sand, hurriedly flinging it away with my flippers. Must dig, must dig, must lay eggs, must lay eggs. This is the only time I feel like a human, with their never ending desperation to get things done so that the next task on the list can hove into view, each one humming away, bee-like on a never-ending Caucus route, crossing things off in hopes of one day finding the finish line, unaware it is immovable and inevitably the casting off of this life.
It is a rare thing that is truly time-constrained. Birthing is one of them. And so I work hard to bury myself in this deep golden grain, the soft and yet abrasive descendants of Abraham remaining defiantly countless, but so many fewer than they ought, by rights, to be. I am sure God, who no longer counts sins, counts these little ones and knows each mustard seed by name.
Having hollowed this hallowed place, I would like to lie down here and die, I am beyond every resource. There is nothing left, but the work only half done. A few shallow groanings, and I divest myself of what has been waiting, all this time, to become treasure. Gelatinous albumen the casket, calcium crust the mantling lock, and inside the gold that will feed each tiny cold-blooded life.
Exhaustion is burning every cell now, and still the work must be completed, the children buried, the brown caramel topping covered and smoothed down. There must be no x marking the spot, that enemies can find them, and no way for this mother to return to the nursery. Here I must leave my heart, and these small beginnings, and hope with everything that is good and holy to encounter familiar seeming tiny turtles when I am traversing the ocean, seeing and recognising the glint in my own eyes before me. Somehow, I lift myself, and turn.
Text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt Photo from Pixabay
Creating Encounter in Colour: Yellow
Clutched tight, all that treasure, in the bud, now blooming as you open up and let go, and realise that all that gift is for giving, and none of it is worth a damn holed up, sepalled shut and lightless. The worth is in the shining, the reflection, the golden glow of a countenance brightly lit, prayer dripping from you as honeyed light
At first it seems that you will never be done with opening. Row upon row of eager sharkish teeth, pointing up delicate satin flintish arrows to indicate the way. Circles falling over one another to begin. Green transformed by the sun’s sacred alchemy into gold as it passes from the centre ever nearer the precipice of edge, fearlessly dancing further and further out. Living with such abandon, the brightness of your seamless mandala changes us too, as we gaze on glory ever changing to glory.
Text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt Photograph by Kate Kennington Steer © used with permission.
What Lies Beneath
When the undercurrent is forced up through cracks in the mantle, we act shocked, dismayed, as though it had not been us pouring our detritus into all the caves we found, pressing it down, forcing it in. As though we thought that our quarrying would never lead to collapse, and our fracking to fracture. As though our landfill might remain out of sight and mind and somehow disappear into another dimension, where we would not ever have to deal with it. And under all this too, radioactive cubes pulse and threaten. Contained in concrete, they nevertheless cry out in pain, singing their atomic song, living half lives beneath the seabed.
When the carpet cannot take any more of us walking over it, tripping us up with the bulges of everything we have swept underneath, when we find our heads brushing against the ceilings, we are so surprised. As though every ball of dust and angry word, every oppression and lie, were not one day going to ruck up and seek us out again. Had we not heard of karma, or understood the cyclical nature of things? We heard the gospel of seeking and finding, of reaping and sowing, and thought half of it only applied to other people. So, we bought ourselves treasure maps from charlatans, and the latest drilling equipment. We left our swords as they were, and invested in combine harvesters and pesticides, counting on technology to save us. Or else we stood in our glass palaces and scrabbled for as many stones as we could find, perfecting our throwing arms, keeping ourselves safe.
And now? And now, all the mouths we taped, the voices we silenced, the rivers we dammed, are coming to find us. Their words and songs are rising up and pouring out, and we do not have enough fingers between us to stop up the dyke. The ones who are not like us are coming, and they are strange and frightening. Because they are not all screaming, as we would. They are not all shouting for blood, as we would. They are not many, suing for damages, as we would.
They are softly shod and treading careful, they are listening to one another, like trees rustling messages through leaves and roots. They are letting the truth out, and cocking heads to one side in order to hear the bubbling flow that runs beneath every façade. Some of them are laughing. Actually laughing! And we do not know why. And when one of them stands up, they are quickly surrounded by others, holding hands, lifting hearts, raising roofs. And we do not know why. We cover our ears, because this seems a good policy. We call our brokers, and we lean on the movers and the shakers who have always taken care of us, because this is the only thing we know.
This other kind of power is annoying, like the buzzing of a thousand hives. We don’t know what it wants or what it might take from us. We will fight back. We will shoot in self-defence. But still they keep on coming. Rising up from the depths we sent them to. Writing their stories, singing their protest songs, firing up new generations with voices and guitars, with drums and pipes.
When they smile at us, when they reach out with work-worn hands, but gently, when they see the pain in our eyes and recognise it as a tiny reflection akin to their own, when they show us compassion, as though we might need it, when they talk to us in calm, loving tones of every man-named colour, and some we do not recognise, then, maybe then, we might take one step closer, for there is something here that smells of fresh water, something that sounds like birdsong, something connecting to our hearts like baby’s breath. Our tears begin to fall, and we do not know why.
© Keren Dibbens-Wyatt
Photo from Pixabay
Creating Encounter in Colour: Fireball
I hold in my hand a ball of flame so hot and fiery, so vast and powerful, that it is rightly to be marvelled at. It is all your troubles, my beloved, called into flame. For just as a candle melts away as it burns, matter will always be transformed into different energy.
In the same way, all your sorrows and tears will become light for the world. Inside the white-hot sphere, at the centre of this new sun, swirls the rainbow that makes up the spectrum of your sufferings, and the hues hewn from hurt become a dance of joy, colliding colours in a kaleidoscope of changing shapes and patterns the universe has always known.
You read the desert father’s advice, “Why not become flame?” and you heeded it. Rest your weariness here in the palm of my hand, and grow with my powerful love even as you are rightly consumed.
Text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt Composite art by R R Wyatt © used with permission.
Creating Encounter in Colour: Mud Bath
God calls me into the loam pit, and I wonder at its name. Here is a place that sounds like home and is full of nutrients to drink up through my roots, to softly connect into with my mycelia. I sink and softly twist into the mud, as though I were truly the tree that I am being called to be, or perhaps a holy hippo, ready to roll and languish in the squelching goodness.
Brown the cool earth, the colour of everything mixed together, all skin colours and barked armour broken down into a melted pot of delicious oneness, so that none can claim difference to lord it over others, nor does anyone feel they do not belong. Here we partake of the crib and the cross, the stillness of forests, the ages of oak and olive, the rotted matter of long gone leaves, we revel in the richness of all that has fallen apart, and prepare for resurrection.
Text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt Photo from Pixabay