Rhyme and Reason: A poet finds inspiration in the Kripalu Labyrinth





When I arrived at Kripalu in lat August 2012 (a beautiful 51st birthday present from my husband), I was experiencing a major arthritic knee flare-up that had started a few days earlier.  I chose to drive the five hours from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts anyway–no swollen joint was going to stop me!

The Kripalu catalog had shown up in my mailbox at a moment of transition: I’d taken over my mother’s real estate business when she died in 2001, and I was ready to do something for myself.  I registered for a writing program, because I’ve always loved poetry.

Due to my knee, I wasn’t able to hike, dance, or do yoga, but I was determined to see the Kripalu Labyrinth.  So on Sunday afternoon, when the program was over and I’d said goodbye to two new friends who had instantly become soul sisters, I took careful baby steps down the hill.  As I entered the Labyrinth, there were three paths to choose from, and my first thought was, Am I on the right path?  Then I heard my beloved late mother’s voice telling me that it didn’t matter which path I was on, because whichever it was, it was the right one for me.

The magic of the Labyrinth–and my mom’s words–manifested withiin minutes of me returning to my room.  I was sitting on my bed with my leg propped up, surrounded by my journals, notes from the program, a few books, and the latest Sports Illustrated magazine.  I looked over at [Los Angeles Angels outfielder] Mike Trout’s handsome face staring at me from the cover of Sports Illustrated, and bright lights went off in my head and heart.  Why not combine my love of poetry, specifically haiku, with my passion for sports?

I instantly wrote a haiku for Mike Trout, in honor of my late father, who loved baseball and fishing.  Then I wrote another, and another.  Within an hour, I had written 12 haikus.  I couldn’t stop.  I wroter several more the next day, and kept going once I was home.  I wrote 101 athlete haikus in eight weeks, and found a publisher almost immediately.

Exactly one year later, I came back to Kripalu for my birthday with my book in hand: Haikudos to Athletes: Poetry in Motion.  I’m now working on the second book in the series, and I have Kripalu and its magical Labyrinth to thank for this blessing of inspiration!


-Kelly K. Ambler, Pennsylvania


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