Called from the Womb

from Isaiah 49

Listen to me, O coastlands,
pay attention, you peoples from far away!
The LORD called me before I was born,
while I was in my mother’s womb he named me.

He made my mouth like a sharp sword,
in the shadow of his hand he hid me;
he made me a polished arrow,
in his quiver he hid me away.
And he said to me, “You are my servant,
Israel, in whom I will be glorified.”

I will give you as a light to the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”

We invite you to spend time in contemplation with these verses from the prophet Isaiah, then join in the conversation with your own poetic response.

You can enter into conversation with this text by adding your haiku response below.

About Margaret D. McGee


  1. on the footpath
    I listen for spring’s
    first song

    • Janet Stanwyck says:

      If you wrote this at the retreat center I can see the path where you are waiting for spring’s first song. My bulbs have already heard the song or at least the leaves have.

      • I was walking in the woods near my house & thinking of bird song — it always lifts my heart when I hear the first mating songs of spring — but I like the idea that all of nature is listening & hearing the song, and responding with new growth.

  2. Janet Stanwyck says:

    Attention, stand tall.
    The wild reeds are responding
    to an ancient call.

    • Wow — this haiku made me sit up straight in my chair! I love the wild reeds and the ancient call. Thanks, Janet.

    • Brad Offutt says:

      Janet, I’ve read this wonderful haiku now for maybe the tenth time, and each time it has the same effect – an effect much more complex than the deceptively simple image you’ve captured. So instead of blathering on about why it is such a telling creation, I’ll just add my own “thank you.”

  3. Brad Offutt says:

    White Winter’s high peaks
    watch sun-breaks probe the valley –
    Spring hides there!

  4. James Irving Mann says:

    holy light guide me
    may I glorify your name
    in word and in deed

    • Hi James — I recently read an interesting exegesis on the religious meaning of the word “glorify,” which is often interpreted as simply “praise.” But the word can also be used to mean “embody” or “make manifest.” And that’s how your prayer-poem reads to me: that when guided by the holy light, I come closer to bringing God’s name (essence or identity) into physical being in the world. Closer to God incarnate. Don’t know if that’s where you were going with this … but I like the idea. Thanks for this prayer-poem.

  5. James Irving Mann says:

    Yes, Margaret, that is the idea I am trying to convey.

  6. Brad Offutt says:

    Bay’s white coast has come
    so late – did Spring peep out and
    see her shadow?

    • Janet Stanwyck says:

      Heard about your sprinkling of snow, first in many years. I get a smile when I read did spring peep out…..

      • Brad Offutt says:

        Thank you, Janet! But hey – sprinkling? Seven inches at our place – not much if you’re in snow country, but LOTS for us around Port Townsend. This is why I left Kansas City…

    • Janet Stanwyck says:

      Whoops, when you said Bay I moved you to San Francisco. Sorry, 7 is way more impressive than our mere 2-3 inches that didn’t last but a day.

    • I’m sitting at my desk, watching snowmelt drip from the trees, hoping that after that last winter blast, Spring is finally ready to come out and play. Thanks, Brad — I agree with Janet, this brings a smile.


  1. […] P.S. To try out the words of Isaiah 49 as a springboard for your own poetic expression, check out this month’s Lectio+Haiku. […]