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  • Sonya Leigh Anderson

The Spirit is a Poet

Updated: Jun 8, 2021


We hosted our first official Red Oak Retreat guest this weekend!


I woke from my sleep, a few nights back, and I had dreamed this title. For a future book? I wonder. The Spirit is a Poet, and it’s easy to see how my waking thoughts would enter my slumber and inspire. And I am inspired, still.

I’ve written of it here, before. More than once. The Spirit stirring and I am at once His poiema—his masterpiece, work of art—and I am a writer, too. Though not a poet. Not really, not yet.

A poet did stay with us this weekend. Our first official Red Oak retreat guest, and it was exactly what we had envisioned. Long, lingering weekend of sharing our space, not entertaining, but hospitality-of-rest. I gave her a welcome tour and she snapped a picture of my handprinted sign, still waiting to be hung on the bunkhouse wall:

enjoy the front porch at sunrise

nap in a hammock

help yourself to a cup of coffee

go for a kayak

fish off the dock

spot an eagle…


We didn’t fish, but we did sit long on the dock, toes in the water, a steady breeze making us forgetful of early June upper 90’s. Two would-be-writers sharing life and sharing sweetest conversation, and in between, she rested.

The Spirit is a poet. Of this, I’m convinced. Every day I read my Bible, in awe, inspired. Beautiful, breath-taking, Spirit-breathed art. And surely its authors, brilliant at their craft, were twice the genius, when stirred by HIM.

“The Spirit is wind.” The day is fading as my friend and I watch the movement of water, the stirring of clouds, artist rendered exquisite sunset. “You can’t really tell where He comes from, or where He’s going…” I say it out loud, just before we gather our things and head up the hill to call it a night. We’d talked of God and grace, and mostly we’d talked of LOVE.


This morning I looked up the verses I’d been trying to recite by the water last night. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17-19 (Even the letters of Paul have a poetic touch.) I write the verses on a card, and I store them in my mind, intending, a bit later to pass them along as a God-breathed blessing, and farewell for my friend. I decide, also, to send her away with a favorite little book, by a favorite poet, hoping this gift might inspire her, too.

How important it is to walk along, not in haste but slowly, looking at everything and calling out

Yes! No! The

swan, for all his pomp, his robes of glass and petals, wants only to be allowed to live on the nameless pond. The catbrier is without fault. The water thrushes, down among the sloppy rocks, are going crazy with happiness. Imagination is better than a sharp instrument. To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.*


I have just now placed an online order for a long-coveted collection by the late Mary Oliver. And this good fortune (Spirit-Poet gift?)—


A Poetry Handbook: Prose Guide to Understanding and Writing Poetry


My favorite poet once wrote a book of her best instructions. And what better place for a dream-novice to start?!

The Spirit is a poet. Like wind. Like water. I sigh, happy to be carried on the wings of such a current.



(Go on your way, my friend, with sweetest blessing. And may you know this love that surpasses knowledge…)

*From White Pine, by Mary Oliver

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