These poems were written for a class at the Seminary of the Southwest studying Mary’s role in Christian story, theology, and history. I shared these this morning with St. John, Kirkland’s adult forum and was asked to share them in a way that people could read them on their own. The seem particularly appropriate here in the depths of Advent.
“Bobe,” Mary asked, hands on the cradle,
“Did you lose sleep; were you so tired?”
She smiles, a topographic map of wrinkles
Knotted hands kneading a thick dark mound
That smells of wheat, and earth, and dark places
And She nods her head in rhythm to the kneading.
“Two at once for me, and no Bobe’s kitchen
To hide in, daughter.” Her eyes say
It gets harder, as they grow up, away, apart.
“Losing sleep never stops, so long as there is love.”
She slaps the dough into a loaf without looking
Eyes on the young tired face and both know,
One because She has walked the garden alone, searching.
The other because her heart knows she will.
“One day you will call him, and he will not come.
One day you will instruct him, and he will not listen.”
The shining loaf slides into the round open womb of oven.
They sit with their tea, and the sleeping baby-silence
As the world fills with the smell of bread to be broken.
The scent of candles, conjures sandalwood,
nutmeg, jasmine, musk and memory
Of their coming, bells chiming a long way off,
Drivers calling, over the moaning
Of camels and the restless drum of hooves
Down our little street and to our door
Where I stood in frozen surprise, arms
Lost in hot rising dough, dress stained
With His breakfast. And knew despite angels
And promises, I was not ready to share Him
With the world. But the world came, dusty and weary
To our door and he laughed, and stomped
On fat baby feet, clapping his hands with delight
At each new face bowing shyly in my doorway,
As if I were a queen, instead of just a girl from Nazareth
With flour in her hair, and handprints on her skirt
And the light of the world dancing in her kitchen
And shrieking delight straight into her heart.
Enter the Light
The Light comes in,
through the open door;
flung wide by a heart
ready for blinding, painful
becoming. Mary sat,
under an olive tree,
lifted her chin, bravely:
“be it unto me…”
and became: Theotokos,
a Bodhisattva for
God was calling:
The Buddha, sitting
under his Bodhi tree
felt the universe
wake up, and smiled
a wide, deep, endless
smile: midwifing the world.
They sit together,
bare foot and young.
Singing a lullaby to suns
born in their laps.
Take up the Light
and bear the sweet,
within your heart.