Daily Practice 2017.08.02 – A Child’s Touch: A Poem from Juvenile Detention


Today, I'm returning to sharing from The BeZine, our sister publicationI am sharing from a poem that Lisa Ashley wrote about the youth in detention that we encounter. (jail detention not after-school detention). Lisa and I have been working together for years. Even though we hardly ever see each other! We work different shifts on different days. 🙂 Actually, I'll by sharing one of her poems today and one tomorrow. 

A Child's Touch: A Poem from Juvenile Detention
by Lisa Ashley

He met his baby niece and toddler nephew
for the first time on that three-day special visit.
Each child was named for him,
the way his brother and sister honored him.

His mother wept tears of joy,
her baby son, her youngest child,
her first visit since he was sentenced
six years ago.

He’s a grown-ass man now, twenty three,
seven years lost in drab gray rooms,
twenty eight more to go,
all that time no touching allowed.

The baby girl grew tired,
fell asleep in the crook of his arm,
her head lolling back,
small feet in white shoes dangling.

His slender brown fingers
and muscular arm
cradled her gently
as he gazed into the camera.

Deprived of human touch
all the weeks that grew into years,
his body like the dried snake skin
left in the desert sun,
suddenly flushed full
by this flash-flood of child love,
trusting him to hold her
as she abandoned herself to sleep.

This moment of gentle touch, soft holding,
deep joy and infinite sadness
mingle in his brown eyes,
caught in the lens.

He watched them walk out
the double-locked doors,
standing stock still in the visiting room,
oblivious to the other men and their families.

The guard walked him back to his empty cell,
hot stifling air enfolded him.
He sat down on his bunk
missing them already.

Walking in the razor-wired yard
he looked up
and watched two eagles
riding the thermals
out there in the Palouse, free
to float where they would.
He wondered what his niece would look like
six years from now.
Would she let him hold her then?

© 2017, Lisa Ashley


What will you open your eyes and see today?




Let my heart rise up to meet mercy, my voice to meet compassion, my hands to meet action.

BIBOLOVE: Breath In, Breath Out--sigh

Sacred Text

Jewish Daily Reading: Daily Study from Chabad

Christian Daily Reading: Revised Common Lectionary Daily Reading

Muslim Daily Reading: Daily Verse from The Only Quran

Buddhist Daily Reading: Daily Zen

Please bring your own sacred readings to the daily pattern. If there is something else you'd like to see, please share!


“Be the reason someone smiles. Be the reason someone feels loved and believes in the goodness in people.”
― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart


Weekly prayer focus comes from the World Council of Churches prayer cycle. We know the world needs to be surrounded with prayer and positive thought. This allows us to work through the world country by country. We focus on one set of countries per week with the same prayer, lifting them up. I encourage you to fill this in however you see it.

Let us pray.

We know that we fail to live up to being makers of peace. Let us bring in rather than push out, be invitational rather than confrontational--seeing signs of life while decrying the desecration of hope.

This week we pray for

For signs of hope and peace, we pray for ________________________

For the oppressed and weary, we pray for ________________________

For those we love, those we hate and those we are indifferent to, we pray.
For the transformation from ME to WE, we pray.
Let peace prevail on earth.
So may it be.

Lord’s Prayer

Translation by Neil Douglas Klotz, Sufi

O Birther! Creator of the Cosmos,
Focus your light within us— make it useful:
Create your reign of unity now-
Your one desire then acts with ours,
as in all light, so in all forms.
Grant what we need each day in bread and insight.
Loose the cords of mistakes binding us,
as we release the strands we hold of others’ guilt.
Don’t let surface things delude us,
But free us from what holds us back.
From you is born all ruling will,
the power and the life to do,
the song that beautifies all,
from age to age it renews.
Truly— power to these statements—
may they be the ground from which all
my actions grow: Amen.

May Peace Prevail on Earth. Amen. So mote it be.

Juvenile Detention
by John S. Quarterman
flickr.com CC BY 2.0
Categories: daily-practice daily-prayer prayer ritual spiritual-practice

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