Deep Listening

a poem by Mary-Elizabeth Cotton

Rev. Andrew writes:

Not long after I started here at the Fellowship, a little over three years ago, I was talking to Bob Smith about our Fellowship Circles program and he told me that the Fellowship’s Administrator, Mary-Elizabeth Cotton, had written a wonderful poem that got to the true heart of what Fellowship Circles are all about.  I asked Mary if she’d send me a copy of it, which she did, and I saw for myself that Bob was spot on.  I held onto that poem for three years, waiting for the right opportunity to use it in a service, so I was very pleased when, as part of my recent service on “How to Listen”, I got to read to the congregation the poem “Deep Listening” by Mary-Elizabeth Cotton.

Let us listen…

Just for a while
Let us silence our minds
And open our hearts.

Just for a while
Let us listen from within.


Not to gain knowledge,
Not to formulate questions,

Rather to chance upon
Sacred bonds and
Profound wisdom.

Just for a while
Let us not seek information
Or answers.

Let us not rouse the intellect
But embrace the spirit.

If thoughts cloud the brain
May we let them pass.

If replies tingle on the tongue.
Let us breathe them away silently.

Return to them later
But here…

Here in this precious time of sharing

Let us listen…

Let the words wash over us
And seep into a still, quiet pool.

Let us listen.


About acmillard

Andrew serves as minister to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Peninsula in Newport News, Virginia.
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