Water from the Well

The Geography of Prayer

by Donna Farley*

(from: The Geography of Prayer, 1999)

[Spring - Summer 2000]

my midnight wakeful prayers
the gift of insomnia
I hold a globe cradled in my hands
and the wave of prayer begins:

a slingshot drawn back to the west coast
then as if the daylight terminator reversed itself
sweeping eastward with mercy, healing,
over the homes of people I know
and people I donít
mission in Comox, monks on the Sunshine Coast

members of our parish asleep in their homes
awake with a sick child
worried about losing a job
waiting for labour pains

siren-wailing emergency
workers in the night outside our window
my own girls in their rooms, storing up
dreams for school the next day
wounded husband with arm splints
and orthopedic pillow in the bed beside me

prayers undulating southward like the aurora
touching the Colorado high school horror
passing a gentle hand over the slumbering brows
of clergy families and writing acquaintances in
San Francisco, L.A., El Cajon

leaping the Rockies in a single bound
crossing the prairies like a speeding locomotive
running roughshod over the Canadian Shield
scattering unseen mercy on all below
                                          passing unnoticed over
family and friends
and lawmakers through time zone
after time zone
a mari usque ad mare

a southern detour
rolling along tornado valley
down to the Caribbean where our foster child
is already awake and at school

leapfrogging the pond to the Old World
where cousins of mine are hard at work midday
and Aberfan is unforgotten
on yet to the wound that bleeds most profusely
beyond that to missionary friends in China,
former foster children in India and Myanmar,
my karate master in Japan

Paused on the Pacific Rim
I remember I have left some holes in my web
having no pins of my own to hang the threads upon
in Mexico or South America or Africa
I have to borrow Mel Gibson in Australia,
and a National Geographic writer
who fled the ruins of his marriage
to cycle on pilgrimage around the
edge of the continent
and I can only imagine what few isolated

research stations shiver in the Antartic

But I canít be the only one who lies
awake nights like this.
Like lines of magnetic force
caressing the world I imagine prayers
emanating from the faithful,
wrapping the world up like string
wound around the core of a baseball
(will it bounce when it smacks
up against the millennium?)

Faster than the internet they go
not at the speed of light
but at the speed of love

A deep breath and I launch myself
back across the International date line
remembering those that go down to the sea in
and Leviathan and all the others too

Home again as the earth rolls away eastward
revealing the morning sun.


*Matushka Donna Farley, wife of Fr. Lawrence Farley, lives in Surrey, British Columbia.  Her poetry has appeared in such diverse magazines as Cornerstone, Our Family, and Epiphany Journal.  She is poet editor and seasonal columinist for The Handmaiden.

  Her new poetry chapbook, The Geography of Prayer, (from which the above was taken) explores the world of prayer.  To order a copy, send a check or money order made out to Donna Farley for $5.00 Can. or $5.00 US (includes postage and $1 donation to St. Herman's Building Fund) to:

9642-139 St. Surrey, B.C. V3T 5H3 Canada

or order online from Skysong Press at:


To inquire about readings or writers' workshops, contact Donna Farley at lrfarley@sprint.ca



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