Archive for the ‘liberation’ Category

A Poem for April

Saturday, April 19th, 2014

Having Crossed the Sea Image

Having Crossed the Sea
(Exodus 15)

I have seen them, dead along the shore,
their bloated faces still ripe with hate.
And there was one I stopped at to kick—
kick him fiercely and hard in the face
the way they kicked my now dead husband
who wept at making bricks without straw—
but I found no joy in what I did.

Yesterday, we had cause to rejoice,
seeing Israel’s enemies crushed
between walls of leveling water
cast on them by our great God’s right hand.
But as we sang praises to heaven
in sight of their still floating corpses,
the cloud column swelled, grew darker, and
the rain fell: softly at first, and then
in great salt drops, so like tears, I wept
to learn one might mourn enemy dead
who were, after all, God’s children, too.

From Flesh Becomes Word, illustration by John Volck

Kenosis and Liberation

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

For Pesach and Holy Week, an older poem of mine, engaging the great festivals in a slantwise way:

Francis and the Leper
(for Richard Rohr)

They both stank (it was not
a time obsessed with odorlessness).
Doubtless both were frightened:
the God-besotted penitent

embracing what he most loathed,
his rotting confessor shrinking
from unaccustomed intimacy,
which could only bring new shame.

Afterward, the leper vanished,
his role over, the news delivered.
I, though, still see him incarnately
embraced, midwife to a saint’s

liberation. So, my body tells me,
Francis sees, too; the first wounds
of crucifixion invisibly gracing him
in that awkward kiss. I wonder,

did the merchant’s son,
drawing back at last, gaze
astonished at the fading shimmer
where his parting lips had pressed

beneath those startled, milky eyes
and honey-crusted sores?
Was it there he discovered
an escape from long captivity,

scanned the unfurling
wilderness of his wandering,
and glimpsed, as from a mountain,
the perilous land of promise?