Milking Prayer

Milking Prayer

Bless, O God, my little cow,
Bless, O God, my desire;
Bless Thou my partnership
And the milking of my hands, O God.

Bless, O God, each teat,
Bless, O God, each finger;
Bless thou each drop
That goes into my pitcher, O God!

— The Carmina Gadelica, IV, 65
from Celtic Christian Spirituality: Essential Writings — Annotated & Explained, SkyLight Paths Publishing, 2011.

We invite you to spend time in contemplation with this milking prayer from The Carmina Gadelica, a collection of prayers, poetry, and folklore from the Celtic oral tradition. Then join in the conversation with your own poetic response.

On October 15, I joined with four other women in a haiku retreat at The Priory Spirituality Center in Lacey, Washington. We spent contemplative time with the Milking Prayer and wrote a 3-line poetic responses. Then we passed our poems around the circle, each of us adding two more lines to our neighbor’s poem. Hope you enjoy our linking Lectio+Haiku, posted in the Comments below.

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

About Margaret D. McGee


  1. from Judith and Marian:

    fingers and hands
    speaking their truth
    blessing and letting go
    writing a letter expressing love
    folded into an origami swan

  2. From Marian and Barbara:

    steep gravel driveway
    buttressed with pear trees
    leads to a small green house
    the scent of humus rising
    planting seedlings for the coming spring

  3. From Barbara and Patty:

    Milking my little cow
    My heart sings with service.
    God is listening.
    A trinity of service:
    The cow, the god, me. A oneness.

  4. From Patty and Margaret:

    Occupy Wall Street.
    Together, fill the pitcher
    Again and again.
    There were so many fishes, the nets broke—
    fear dissolves when abundance flows free

  5. From Margaret and Judith:

    autumn chill…
    another layer of duct tape
    on my garden gloves
    allowing “what is” to be
    comfortable with “what is”

  6. Sharon Nowidki says:

    Morning brings a chill
    Sunny day and stickey heat
    Just a memory

  7. Sharon Nowicki says:

    Eyes of brown
    offering fresh warm milk
    sweet jersey cow.

  8. Sharon Nowicki says:

    Point teat to my cup
    squeeze and aiming carefully
    white foam on my lip
    smelling warm cow flesh
    childhood memories

  9. Wow, Sharon — what great sensory images. Touch, taste, smell, and sight. I’ve never had this experience, but you bring it to life for me. Thank you.

    • Sharon Nowicki says:

      I don’t think many people know that milk never never tastes the same again after it has been cooled. Never as good.

  10. James Irving Mann says:

    a small drop of rain
    joins hands with other raindrops;
    wow, what an Ocean!

  11. Brad Offutt says:

    fresh cucumber and
    knife on old board table – Taste!
    Gaia smiles.

  12. My desires produce
    Nourishment to feed my life
    Milk for the journey

    • How interesting — desires producing nourishment! That makes me look around and see the various ways my desires are reflected in my home and actions, and what nourishment comes back. Thanks, Mary.

  13. Sharon Nowicki says:

    Rustling leaves

    floating gracefully down

    frost kills.

    • Thanks, Sharon. This poem contains both the beauty of autumn and the turn toward winter, reminding me that both life and death are always present, and always turning one into the other.

  14. Sharon Nowicki says:

    November storm
    wind driving the rain
    assaulting the night

    • I remember those November storms. The fir branches were flying around our house. Now we’re in a period of bright, sunny days and starry nights. I know the storms will return to assault the night … so I’m enjoying the light while it’s here.

      Thanks, Sharon, for sharing the dark as well as the light.


  15. My haiku friend Marybeth Bland sent me this poem:

    Strands of spider silk
    like icicles they hang
    trapping the unknown

    • I love the image of spider silk trapping the unknown. The spider doesn’t know, and neither do we, what will come along. And comparison with icicles makes me think of what might be trapped inside that frozen water…

      Thanks, Marybeth!

  16. Sharon Nowidki says:

    Cherry pink clouds

    Streaked across the cold dark blue

    Winter morning sky

    • Sharon — you returned to the Milking Prayer! In this poem, I especially like how “cherry” pink evokes spring. There is hope even in the cold of winter. Thanks for sharing,


  1. […] voices joined with old friends on the Lectio+Haiku page, including retreat participants from The Priory Spirituality Center in Lacey, Washington and Stillpoint at Beckside in Bellingham, Washington. It’s always a […]