nina coyle

welcome, neighbor.



Some days I feel brave enough to write.

The other days I’m learning to write, anyway.

Place one hand on heart, one hand on belly.

Breathe your own resilience—and let’s begin.


‘how the light gets in’

three o’clock across the bare floor of my
ten-fifteen at the edge of my desk
earlier, maybe eight on a February
Saturday morning, first a ‘diet-friendly’
slice, and soon the smiling extra-helping

these are the times the light comes in

God, I wish I could be so bold as
the amber girl who traipses
straight into the living room on
a Sunday afternoon, right in the middle
of unfinished laundry
the golden girl, the warmth of a star
who knows what it is to
shine over the shells of Syrian cityscapes

after the dust has settled, and young
and wrinkled hands alike
set to sift through rivers
of rubble

or maybe to shine, softly?

lightly? is that a lazy word to use?
to be as a gentle dawn cooing and coaxing
the pastures from their dewy naps

and there is the light of clarity
the light that sounds like my mother:
I have not swept in five weeks
and the spilled coffee did leave a stain

here is a prayer to see light,
steep in light, to sleep and
trust the light will come back
laughing—like a lark
who keeps a song
snug inside her breast, until
those scattered
might stumble on home.

Caminante, son tus huellas
el camino y nada más;
Caminante, no hay camino,
se hace camino al andar.
— Extracto de Proverbios y cantares (XXIX), Antonio Machado
Pathmaker, your footsteps
are the path and nothing more;
Pathmaker, there is no path,
you make the path by walking.
— Excerpt from XXIX, Antonio Machado via David Whyte

Please Don’t Ask

Please don't ask me to
try for promotion
or forgive myself, or share
my thoughts with
people clearly more advanced
than me.

Please don't ask me what I ate
for dinner last night
or breakfast this morning,
as if You don't know the answer
to both questions is:
pancakes! and butter! and syrup!

Please don't ask me to answer
the question I don't
know the answer to.

Please don't ask me to
be vulnerable with my dreams.

Don't ask me to call myself
An artist. A writer. A leader. A businesswoman.

Please don't ask me to be
the girl who isn't put together, again.
The girl who can't seem to get things right,
who slips into the stall crying,
and feeling wrong about it all at once.

And please don't ask me to walk back inside
and be brave.


My failures aren't finales,
and brightness rests around the bend.
and redemption isn't mocked
by weak faith...
and love still has the final word

Then, I suppose
by all means  
Ask away.


Litany for Light

“And there was light.”
Cartwheeling across the horizon
Tilling the earth where redemption would grow
A blanket, unfurled
Preparing the world
To cradle the dawn, and
the day.

O God, as we meet each morning
Let there be light
To stir in us a hopeful curiosity
Let there be light
To awaken our hearts in praise
Let there be light
To turn our paths toward peace
Let there be light

II. “To dwell among us.”
Not from the mountains, circled in grandeur
Nor from the sea, swollen with song
But a womb would contain
Heaven’s humble refrain
—a heart, ripe for freedom
and joy.

Incarnate God, in the height of our days
Let there be light
Before us to guide our steps
Let there be light
Behind us to reveal our shadows
Let there be light
Beside us to comfort in sorrow
Let there be light

“So, go forth rejoicing.”
Lift your eyes, heart and glass
The desired Beloved does ever draw near
He will come through the wild
Holy mess of a child
To riddle our souls with
that oft-rumored love.

God-of-our-hope, when darkness comes
Let there be light
As a refuge for the world’s forgotten
Let there be light
As a ransom for those frozen by shame
Let there be light
As a rest upon mercy’s great welcome
Let there be light



If you want to catch
a poem:
build a nest

Be deliberate,
too eager

Simply gather
gather, gather...
make a quiche
or pie?
Sweep the hardwoods
start the laundry
(oh, apple pie would be

Do not try
to coax the creature
nor go parading words
across the page

Ignore it.

Set the table for a guest
forget the spoon, and
remember yesterday's deer
dissolving among the trees
or was that Sunday?

Twigs will do
perhaps, frayed jute
the clinging of moss
to a rock,
any old things...
any gold things
the sound of marimba!
and flute