The Valley of Dry Bones

EZEKIEL 37:1-10

The hand of the LORD came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord GOD, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the LORD.”

So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord GOD: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.” I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude.

We invite you to spend time in contemplation with this well-known (and widely inspiring) passage from the prophet Ezekiel, 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. no breath…
    a coyote with three pups
    crosses the dry field

  2. Janet Stanwyck says:

    Windows up, blinds up
    cool wind breathe on me, then
    windows down, blinds down.

    The ritual of a home without air-conditioning in a heat wave.

  3. Janet Stanwyck says:

    This is not for publishing it is just so I remember to click on the notify me box. I forget and never know that others have posted. The cool nights have really helped.

    Be interesting to have some responses to the passage from folks on the east coast, wet and cooler.

    Janet S.

  4. the sound of air
    like distant waves
    as a rose neck bends
    ‘neath dancing tree

    • Thanks, Maz – To me, this poem gives the experience of wind from a distance, or from inside a building, looking out through the window. I can hear the wind and see its effect on the rose stem and the tree (nice contrast), but i’m not being blown about myself. That’s an interesting effect.

      • Ah, yes you’ve guessed it right, I was sitting inside my house looking out over my deck observing the effects of the wind. The reference to the ‘distant waves’ though was actually how I experience the sound of strong winds blowing through leaves and I love this sound.

  5. Brad Offutt says:

    Konstantina is
    now Sister Peace; Saint George’s
    Closter breathes again

    Our friend the artist and mother has taken vows after years of preparation, and an historic convent has its first nun in 300 years.

    • Janet Stanwyck says:

      Please explain your post more fully.
      Thank you, Janet S.

      • Brad Offutt says:

        Janet, we spend part of each year on the Greek island of Amorgos. Suffice to say that an important monastery here has many dependencies, and one of them is the Convent of St. George Valsamitis (Google it – there’s lots more). Konstantina, whom we’ve known here for years, has come through a life of difficulties and also triumphs. For years she has felt a call to become a nun. Now long preparation, she has taken her vows. She is “Adelfi Irini – Sister Irene” or, in Greek, “Sister Peace.” She is the first nun in 300 years at this convent, which has been maintained as sort of a museum. She has made it alive again, a place of beauty and peace (like her new name). This powerful and spiritual woman has found, in the age-old restrictions of Orthodoxy, a freedom to be herself and to share her faith. I visited her today and the connection with the dry bones living again, through God’s power, was a strong haiku moment. And thank you for asking!

      • Brad Offutt says:

        Janet and others, I should add to my explanation that one should Google “Hozoviotissa,” the main Amorgos monastery, to find out more about it and about its dependencies. If you Google St. George Valsamitis you’ll get some about the convent and lots about a hotel by the same name!

    • Thanks, Brad, for this poem of spirit & peace, and for Konstantina’s inspiring story.

  6. Alison Hedlund says:

    a fiddle unplayed
    becomes a dry bone
    an empty box

    • Thanks, Alison. I especially like “dry bone” because fiddles are kind of bone-shaped, aren’t they? At least it feels that way to me. And the empty box is poignant. This poem draws me back to my paint kit…

      • Alison Hedlund says:

        I believe it’s the Smithsonian that employs a violinist who goes around to play all the antique instruments once a day or so. Because they “close up” if they aren’t played. They become kind of dead-sounding. I have experienced this with my own fiddle. Not only do my small muscles get out of tone if I don’t play, the fiddle does too! We have to keep instruments alive with our playing. A dry bone was once alive.

      • Alison Hedlund says:

        I didn’t think about a fiddle being bone-shaped, but what an interesting observation! Thanks for your comment. And I hope you get back to your paint kit.