i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
wich is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the no
of all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

- e.e. cummings
*******

This is one of my favorite poems written by one of my favorite poets. No one does the topic of gratitude justice quite like he does. I have nothing more to add.

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it will not be simple, it will not be long
it will take little time, it will take all your thought
it will take all your heart, it will take all your breath
it will be short, it will not be simple

it will touch through your ribs, it will take all your heart
it will not be long, it will occupy your thought
as a city is occupied, as a bed is occupied
it will take all your flesh, it will not be simple

You are coming into us who cannot withstand you
you are coming into us who never wanted to withstand you
you are taking parts of us into places never planned
you are going far away with pieces of our lives

it will be short, it will take all your breath
it will not be simple, it will become your will

– “Final Notations” by Adrienne Rich

*******

Life is nothing more than the blink of an eye. Therefore it must be lived in constant action and not in reaction. It is too short to be reactionary in nature. Just make sure your actions are guided by the principles that ring true. The Truth is what has set us free, and it shall keep us free. What we live is what we will reap in this life and the next.

“Small Wire”

My faith
is a great weight
hung on a small wire,
as doth the spider 
hang her baby on a thin web,
as doth the vine,
twiggy and wooden,
hold up grapes
like eyeballs,
as many angels 
dance on the head of a pin.

God does not need
too much wire to keep Him there,
just a thin vein,
with blood pushing back and forth in it,
and some love.
As it has been said:
Love and a cough
cannot be concealed.
Even a small cough.
Even a small love.
So if you have only a thin wire,
God does not mind.
He will enter your hands
as easily as ten cents used to
bring forth a Coke.

- Anne Sexton

*******
And here lies the beauty and awe-inspiring nature of faith—we only need small bit
of it and God takes it and multiplies it to unimaginable proportions. Christ
spoke to His disciples concerning faith: “And Jesus said unto them, Because of
your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed,
ye shall say unto this mountain, Removehence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and
nothing shall be impossibleunto you” (Matthew 17:20). He does not ask much of us.
Only that we let Him in and He will hold us up.
“Parable of Faith”

Now, in twilight, on the palace steps
the king asks forgiveness of his lady.

He is not
duplicitous; he has tried to be
true to the moment; is there another way of being
true to the self?

The lady
hides her face, somewhat
assisted by shadows. She weeps
for her past; when one has a secret life,
one’s tears are never explained.

Yet gladly would the king bear
the grief of his lady: his
is the generous heart,
in pain as in joy.

Do you know
what forgiveness means? It means
the whole world has sinned, the world
must be pardoned—

- Louise Glück 

I am a woman with keys

Without a door

My wide angle perfect size

Still I pass through

And the space is made

To fit

 

My spaceship hands

This waterfall of feet

These ship-size eyes

A gun

The very air

It shapes me

Keys jingle

And fish fly protectively

Around my waist

 

I am a woman with keys

And all the doors are nailed

Dented shut with hammers

Unlikely to ever open on their own

But I am a key woman

I come jingling

And there is a ringing in my ear

That is not song

But how I enter

I am quilted down

With eyes and scale

This is jewelry on my belt

From the Living behind us

I enter        then I knock

 

I am a woman with keys

And this long middle sash of sorrow

Stays tightly tied

And is given to the yellow chicken wind

For whipping

Do you hear that jingle

As I go slow

I am a woman with keys

The mother-mother of memory

 

I come to go

As I please

You know I have been here

By the sound of locks

Swinging free

From Zanzibar to Daufuskie to alligator swamp

All along the ocean’s floor

There are attics

And storm cellars of hearts

Castanetting for a key

A Black cobblestone of family

Has never held its breath

 

Tell them I am on my way

 

I am a woman with keys

Unlocking the buildings

That now belong

To me 

 

-Nikky Finney

 

Currently listening to: “Give Me One Reason” by Tracy Chapman

The Taming of the Shrew stands out as one of Shakespeare’s most famous comedies. Although just how funny it really is remains a matter of opinion. To briefly summarize the play, a rich Italian gentleman has two daughters, Katherina (Kate) and Bianca. Bianca is sweet and loved and chased by many suitors but her older sister Kate is entirely shrewish. No man wants to come near her because if she does not blow out his eardrums out with her shouting she will literally beat him. 

As always there has to be some sort of complication. Bianca is not allowed to get married until her older sister is first married, and this stipulation is what spurs the action of the play. One of Bianca’s suitors, Hortensio, convinces his friend Petruchio that Kate is the wife for him because she is beautiful and her dowry is large. Petruchio enters the play as the would-be hero who will capture Kate’s heart and release Bianca. Except he acts far more like a villain than a hero. He is not intent on capturing Kate’s heart but on breaking her will, on taming her (hence the title.) By the very end of the play, Kate and Petruchio are married and Kate has been tamed for lack of a better description. The unruly Katharina seems to have finally met her match. Critics world over have tried to rescue the play from its apparent chauvinistic traits but that is not my concern here.

First I offer the following passage from the second Act of the play in which Kate and Petruchio meet and he informs her that she will be his wife whether she likes it or not. After much witty banter and the exchange of some harsh words, the ever elusive Katherina seems to have finally been trapped as her interaction with Petruchio comes to a close and her father reenters the scene. He ends their interaction in the following manner:

“And therefore, setting all this chat aside,
Thus in plain terms: your father hath consented
That you shall be my wife; your dowry ‘greed on;
And, Will you, nill you, I will marry you.
Now, Kate, I am a husband for your turn;
For, by this light, whereby I see thy beauty,
Thy beauty, that doth make me like thee well,
Thou must be married to no man but me;
For I am he am born to tame you Kate,
And bring you from a wild Kate to a Kate
Conformable as other household Kates.
Here comes your father: never make denial;
I must and will have Katharina to my wife.”

Petruchio does just as he promises. The wild Kate becomes a domesticated Kate, simply concerned with pleasing her husband and attending to his needs. The world outside Petruchio and away from him no longer exists. And as Kate becomes a “Kate conformable as other household Kates” her spirit and her fire fizzles away. She is simply a changed woman.

Strangely enough, this play and particularly that excerpt bring to mind the following passage from the Bible. “There is difference [also] between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please [her] husband” (1 Corinthians 7:34).

And so the Bible presents us with the image of the unmarried or single woman as a free spirit not bound to the cares of this world but entirely focused on the world above. Her life is one focused on entirely on God, she is not bound to anything or anyone. Her will is free, and if she so chooses, she can will her entire being to revolve around her connection with God.

Now Kate is far from the best example of a single woman’s cares focusing on God, but the connection is there. Kate’s life did not revolve around anything of this world or its cares until Petruchio came along and her focus had to alter.

This is not an anti-marriage post by any means though. After all, the church regards a marriage as the formation of a new church within the home. It is one of the paths that lead to salvation. After all, the beauty of a Christian marriage is unparalleled. This is a post meant to extol the beauty of being single and living life on your own. There is something to be said for having your free time to while away on God and His glory.

Many run around in a panic, thinking that singledom is a disease of sorts that must be cured as fast as possible when in actuality it is a blessing meant to be cherished. Take the time you have on your own to grow in His wisdom and in His glory. To expand your capacity for love and humility. To grow into His likeness with every passing day. The time is too short and it will slip by before you realize it.

P.S. – The same thing goes for men too. See 1 Corinthians 7:32-33.