After sunset, as azure deepens into cobalt, I lay
myself down on a wrought iron table, a weathered
appointment to my backyard. It is a quiet wild place
with a simple narrative. Urban born coyotes, at times,
in the distance. Rabbits, always rabbits, ignored
by my dog. Once, an owl. And recently, doves. My gaze
above through undulating branches of ash catches
a clear spot, a free peek at the universe. The afternoon
storm carried away July’s rage that christened our day,
yielding a healing baptism of breath. Cool flows over my
bare arms, down my legs, around my feet. I would prefer
to guide each button until undone, dropping my livery
into a puddle around my ankles leaving me unembellished.
But modesty, even in shapeless darkness, is pressed here
in the suburbs. A red hot star, the color of harlots, of
Magdalene misunderstood, a flashback to the burn
of midday, catches my eye with a blink. What does the
color red have to say about a soul seven times released?
Are there demons I walk with unaware, each one’s
diminution a step closer to the Sacred? Sanguine flowed
from His veins mapping a path. In my bittersweet days
I gaze into a mirror and see the Divine, leaving demons
behind. In my face and yours I caress Brilliance and in
the night sky I am remembered, exaulted in a crimson flash.
Never forget you are
a child of the Beloved,
rocked in her gracious arms,
held safe under his gaze.
You are a child of the Beloved.
Not one of you turned away.
Not one of you held closer
than the other.
You are sisters and brothers of
one another, one family in the Beloved.
The earth does not belong to you,
its land and fruits, all gifts to be shared,
gifts to be tended,
just as the Beloved nurses you.
you are a child of the Beloved.
Not one of you more precious,
not one of you more cherished
than the other.
Mother and terrorist,
teacher and gunman,
oppressed and the oppressor,
rest in the lap of the Beloved
swathed in forgiveness,
all made whole.
do not forget you are a child
of the Beloved, compassion
and grace rain down upon you
with boundless, unselfish passion.
Child of the Beloved,
be a mirror of your Beloved.
I struggled for a long time with how to write this poem. What form it should take? What exactly did I want to say?
I am a first grade teacher. Sandy Hook.
I live in Aurora. The Aurora Movie Theatre Shooting.
I live in Colorado. Columbine.
I am a United States citizen. 911.
The rest of the world has experienced terrorism for millennia, much longer and more intimately than I have. These current killings – Gaza and Ukraine – brought me back to the empty page.
I don’t know if it is due to my recent study of the Gospel of John with Fr. Scott Jenkins at my church. If it is the Celtic kirtan chant project I am involved in, with Macushla introducing me to the Irish lament. My recent immersion into Mary Magadlene, giving voice to her story in a monologue I wrote and will be performing later this year. Or my satsang friend, a mother, with a daughter in Israel and another friend, a mother, whose mother and father live in Palestine. It must be combination of all of these events and people that kept me from sleep this evening, muses that finally led me to this poem.
The insanity of killing one another must stop. I don’t know how, but I think it is summed up in a quote I read earlier this night from an Israeli. In response to a call for prayer from the Book of Isaiah, he said rather eloquently and simply:
“AMEN to Shalom over ego.”
I wish you peace this night and a blessing of surrender of ego.
Here is one of Macushla’s songs, “We Are Beloved of God.”