Dreaming of Stones: Poems

Dreaming of Stones: Poems

by Christine Valters Paintner


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The poems in Dreaming of Stones are about what endures: hope and desire, changing seasons, wild places, love, and the wisdom of mystics. Inspired by the poet’s time living in Ireland these readings invite you into deeper ways of seeing the world. They have an incantational quality. Drawing on her commitment as a Benedictine oblate, the poems arise out of a practice of sitting in silence and lectio divina, in which life becomes the holy text.
No stranger to poetry, Paintner’s bestselling spirituality titles have often included poems. In this first exclusively poetic collection, she writes with a contemplative heart about kinship with nature, ancestral connections, intimacy, the landscape, the unfolding nature of time, and Christian mystics. It can be read for reflection to spark the heart and to offer solace and inspiration in difficult times. 

in is a miracle,
this breathing out, release,
this breathing in a welcome to
the unseen gifts which sustain me each
moment, this breathing out a sweet sigh,
a bow to my mortality, this breathing in
a holy yes to life, this breathing out
a sacred no to all that causes
me to clench and grasp,
this breathing in is a
revelation, this
breathing out,

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781640601086
Publisher: Paraclete Press
Publication date: 03/01/2019
Series: Paraclete Poetry Series
Pages: 130
Sales rank: 242,806
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.31(d)
Age Range: 3 Months to 18 Years

About the Author

Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE is the online Abbess of Abbey of the Arts, a virtual monastery and global, ecumenical community integrating contemplative practice and creative expression. She is a Benedictine oblate living on the west coast of Ireland with her husband John. Together they lead pilgrimages and retreats in Ireland, Scotland, Germany, and Austria. Christine is the author of twelve books on spirituality, monastic wisdom, creativity, and the arts including The Artist’s Rule and The Soul’s Slow Ripening.  Her poems have been published in journals in the U.S., Canada, Ireland, and the UK.

Table of Contents

Introduction 11

This is Not a Poem 13


Vigils 17

Lauds 18

Little Hours 19

Vespers 20

Compline 21

The Time of Our Lives

Breath 25

Hours 26

Sabbath 27

Phase 28

Seasons 29

Life Cycles 30

Ancestral Time 31

Cosmos 33


I Want to Know 37

Pendulum 38

Ripe 39

Let it Be Winter Still 40

An Unquiet Revolution 42

In Praise of Forgetting 43

"The Duty of Delight" 44

Cup 46

"Whose silence are you?" 47

How to Be a Pilgrim 48

Please Can I Have a God 50

Illuminated 52

Cuckoo Clock 53

Garden Furniture 54

The Turning 55

Inventory 56

Wonder 57

Wings 58

Wild Places

Wild 61

Threshold 62

Connemara Illuminated 64

Tree Dreaming 65

I have always loved the sea 66

Shades of Winter 67

Mountain Presence 68

Winter Sea 70

Thirteen Ways to Love the Rain 71

Shoreline Triptych 72

New Beginnings 73

Pigeon of Patience 74

Take My Hand 75

Visitation from Fox 76


Love 79

Sing 80

Final Instructions 81

This Is How the World Is Saved 82

Last Night t Dreamt I Was 84

There is No Time for Love to Be Born 85

Inheritance 86

Elegy for My Mother 87

160 East 48th Street 88

Listen 90

Requiem for Myself 91

Bloodlines 92

Slant 94

In Praise of Circles 95

Corridor of Grief 96

Monks and Mystics

Dreaming of Stones 99

Holy Mountain 100

St. Gobnait and the Place of Her Resurrection 102

St. Ciaran and the Dream 103

St. Colman's Bed 104

Flagstone of Loneliness 106

St. Sourney's Well 107

St. Enda Arrives on Inismor 108

St. Dearbhla's Eyes 109

St. Brigid and the Fruit Tree 110

St. Brigid at the Market 111

Amma's Prayer 112

St. Franc is at the Corner Pub 113

Lost Psalm of King David 114

Miriam on the Shores 116

St. Hildegard Strolls Through the Garden 118

God Among the Pots and Pans 119

St. Teresa's Ecstasy 120

St. Benedict and the Rainstorm 121

Afterword 123

Poem Credits 126

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“Christine Valters Paintner's poems have both a mystical and an earthy sensibility to them, drawing us to the transcendent as well as the immanent presence of the divine. Her poems, much like her nonfiction writing, offer the reader an experience of retreat and sacred encounter.”
-Richard Rohr, OFM
“Christine Valters Paintner’s poetry is a worthy companion to the prose she has already produced. There, her thoughtful analysis of the foundations of modern society stretch the reader beyond any kind of idolatry of the present. Here, she goes even further in her commitment to wed vision to understanding. In this new work, she brings poetic insight to observation. She presents the flash of light, the kernel of truth that goes deeper and more mystically into the heart of the universe than fact and faith can hope to do. She makes a bridge for us between experience and wisdom and gives us a veritable holograph of life.”
-Joan Chittister, OSB
“These are poems about things that really matter: the tides of time, the lure of landscape, our links to our forebears, our love of home. Paintner has a musical ear and an artist’s craft with colour and texture. The work is lushly sensual in its language, generous in its patient wisdom. Dreaming of Stones is a collection you will want to keep near you, as a source of comfort and inspiration.  Here, the profound is made warmly accessible; the ordinary made wondrous.”
-Susan Millar Dumars, poet, author of Dreams for Breakfast and Bone Fire

“The sequences unfold like breath, a motif that holds the collection together. I found myself immersed in the flow of the poems, and the sprinkling of imagination-catching phrases like ‘brawl of light,’ until by the end I too was saying ‘yes and yes and yes.’”
-Roselle Angwin, poet, author of A Trick of the Light: Poems from Iona
“Paintner describes the kinship between the paths of the poet and the monk. She writes about our journeying to retrieve a lost intimacy with the world in poems sculpted as though from fine pieces of light: delicate things made beautiful for a road less travelled. More than anything I am drawn to poems inspired by the early Celtic saints of Ireland for whom nature and a God-created world were inseparable from faith. The stories they leave behind and the poems that tell them are pieces of wisdom for an age trying to travel too fast and too loudly.”
-Kenneth Steven, author of CoracleSalt and Light

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