215-247-5545 box 2 susan@susanwindle.com

Commission a Special Poem or License an Existing One

When we lack words for the deepest levels of experience, poetry can help us get there—to speak from those depths or to be kept company within them. When we want to celebrate or explore something of vital importance—a relationship, a community, an organization, a political reality or a profound life passage—a poem can help us travel beneath the obvious and into the core of what moves us.

I love when poetry is put to good use. I write inspiring poems for community choirs and for individuals—for gifts, for rituals—and I write for progressive non-profits and political organizations and movements for use in training workshops and rallies, and as tools for building membership or raising funds.

Do you, your group or your choir, need a poem to plum the depths of your longings, reach ahead to meet your goals, or simply to celebrate something? Is there a relationship to honor, a death to mourn, a new stage of life to enter or an old to leave?

Let me help you with a poem. I may have one already written or we may create a new one together. We’ll explore what is needed, and I will let your voice work through mine to create something new, a treasure that will never wear out. My fees are negotiable—let’s talk.

Open up some samples below and enjoy some videos of my work—

 

For Choirs

“Into the Blue”—both my poem and the choral composition by Andrea Clearfield—were commissioned by the Rainbow Chorale of Delaware for their tenth anniversary season in 2009. The video on this page is of the Harmonium Choral Society performance of the piece in 2011. My performance of the poem preceding the choir’s.

Into the Blue: A Blessing From the Rainbow Chorale

May you be met
at the door and greeted
by the kindest of breezes,
the kind that rises
from the earth
through the throats
of the ones who breathe
Alleluia.

May you be swept up
in the love of a song,
lean and laugh
like some lily in the wind—
there’s nothing to catch us
but air,
and our stalks
strong enough to
split the earth
and reach
for the summer sun.

May you seek the green and
receive what you need:
from the light,
through the breath
that lifts us up, out of
the tangles of our roots
and around
even the most oppressive
rock.

In good, kind company
may you lengthen, swell
soften, spread,
send the colors of your voice,
every russet, carnelian,
deep yellow
stripe of your flame
into the blue
Alleluia

as a chorus of future lilies
flourishes through you

day after day
week after week
June after June
giving up, giving in, giving out:
trumpeting
the exquisite, excruciating
pleasure of
growing here.

Susan Windle

Commissioned by the Rainbow Chorale of Delaware to celebrate its tenth anniversary season.

Personal Poems for Yourself or Others

“Voice of Another Woman” is an example of a  poem I wrote for an individual, a friend struggling to fully inhabit her speaking voice. Since I wrote the poem in 1980, the words acquired music and became a signature piece for my ensemble, Voices of a Different Dream. In the video on this page, Annie Geheb and I perform the poem in a neighborhood living room concert. I recently offered this poem at a fundraiser for I’m FREE, a Philadelphia organization with the mission of assisting female inmates and returning citizens to re-enter the world beyond the prison walls.

The Voice of Another Woman

for JW

Do not muffle
do not cloud
speak with your full voice
which is luminous
and please in mid-sentence
do not cover yourself
with that veil.

I want an end to shame.
I want clarity—mine and yours.
They told you brilliance would hurt
do not believe them
they said that light in your hands
is stolen
do not duck away like a thief.

Take the reins of the chariot
and shake
loose
what you hold back—
take the reins and shine

Shine on me.

Susan Windle

 

Rituals

This is a poem I created in 2016 for a woman in her croning years, to be used in a ritual she defined as a “wedding with her higher self.” Anael wanted a poem to remind her daily of the primary covenant with her own soul. Listen to the recording of the poem on this page. I made it by request for Anael after the poem was complete.

When Two Are Joined

for Anael Joblin

A good marriage
gathers the ordinary like stones
for a necklace
to celebrate, illuminate,
strand upon strand,
the humble earth
beneath our daily feet.
The years pass so quickly
we must prize them, collect
our luminous memories and
wear them proudly, share them
as signs, signals
of a light beyond, not beyond
but coming, coming always
towards us, towards us
even as it glimmers within
the ground that holds us
up and stepping, ever
moving forward to meet
face to face our
one true love.

Put on your veil of moonbeams then.
Every day find your radiance
in the muck, in the mud
of your living, in the crunch
of your bones, remember
your bridal blush, your
cosmic ties, your
conjugal obligation
to reflect, to
give back the blessing
of being joined
in this luminous rock.
Every dawn
discover the sun in your bed,
that strong pulse beating here
with you—see
how light rises when you turn,
this vigor within you
always as you lift
to face your sovereign day.
Remember your cloak of fire,
rainbow raiment of your hidden truth.
Do not leave this place
without it.

But go, do.
Set your sights beyond
the tyranny of what you know.
A good marriage roams,
travels widely, guided,
latched to the most
persistent star.

Susan Windle

For Progressive Non-Profits/NGOs

“Why I Stand at the Gun Shop” was written in 2011 to support an organization that bears witness and takes direct action to end gun violence. The group, Heeding God’s Call to End Gun Violence, was holding monthly vigils at Philadelphia area gun shops implicated in the sale of guns to “straw” purchasers.

Why I Stand at the Gun Shop

There’s something about a doorway that’s holy.
Everyone knows that.
Something about the threshold wants
each passing-through to be honest,
every transaction true.

Something wants us to linger at the entrance,
touch the frame toward the lintel,
and wonder what goes on here
and is it holy? Holy as the frame itself?
Does it return life to life’s maker
with honor?

There are many doorways, many openings,
apertures through which
the dishonorable streams.
Blood flows from countless wounds.
I cannot pray by every hurt.
But I can stand at this one and I can say
this one door stands for all:
all love, all healing, all health,
one holy body.

Susan Windle

Good Friday/Passover Vigil, Delia’s Gun Store, Philadelphia 2011.

Licensing Susan's Poetry

Sometimes a poem of mine already exists to meet a client’s needs.  “Sunflowers” was licensed in 2005 by Anna Crusis Women’s Choir to celebrate their thirtieth anniversary. “The Kiss” was licensed in 2015 by the Grand Rapids Women’s Chorus to celebrate their tenth season. Andrea Clearfield composed music for both. “Colors” was composed in 2016 by composer Marjan Helms, also for the Grand Rapids Women’s Chorus. The text for “The Shape of My Soul” can be found in the Sara Steele poem-print  Sunflowers. “The Kiss” poem can be found in the Alana Lea poem-print of the same name.  The text for “Colors” can be found in the Alana Lea poem-print “Be Perfect.” All three musical compositions can be heard in the videos on this page. Enjoy!

 

CC-BY CC-NC icon Yay !  Creative Commons License Usage

All poetry on this website by Susan Windle is licensed for your use under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. This means you may use the poetry for non-commercial purposes, as long as you attribute the poet and this website as the source. (Click the previous link for important details.) To discuss permissions beyond the scope of this license, please contact Susan Windle.

I have composed music to three of Susan Windle’s poems, one of which was written specifically for the work.  I find Susan’s texts to be beautiful gems, marvels of language, layered with meaning and evocative imagery and naturally musical.  Susan is not only a gifted poet, but a wonderful collaborator and I look forward to more projects together.

Andrea Clearfield

Composer

When I explained to Susan what I was hoping to achieve in the poem I wanted for my birthday ritual, I gave her free reign to create. I was not disappointed. She got it on the second round. The first round was excellent, and yet I knew more would emerge. She was sensitive to my feeling and nailed the poem upon the next revision.

Susan is intuitive, and has such an ability to go deep with words. Her artistry is evident in both her written and spoken product. I would be delighted to commission her again for some very special occasion. She is a gem, and as a result of her brilliance her poem, which is now my poem, shines through me.

Meryl (Anael) Joblin

Shamanistic Artist: Ceremonial Garb and Necklaces