Sunday, December 14, 2008

December's Hectic Days

I have been having one of those months where I race from appointment to appointment, in between work and sleep. I know that most people spend their December this way, but it's unusual for me.

My hectic schedule reminds me of an earlier time in my life, when I drove across 3 counties, from adjunct job to adjunct job. After I taught a session on Julian of Norwich, I sat in the car, yearning for contemplation, and wondering what a modern anchoress would look like. And thus, emerged this poem (which later appeared in my chapbook):

My Habit, My Hairshirt


A modern day anchoress, I commit
myself to my car. In my moving cell,
I sing constantly and pray without ceasing.

I dedicate myself to our modern religion
of hectic pace. I rush from one location to another,
showing my devotion in twelve hour increments.

No time for contemplation, the anathema
to the modern ascetic. I flog
myself with my cell phone and briefcase.

Occasionally, a heretical urge lures
me, a siren song urging me to slow down,
tempting me to tame my frantic schedule.

But no Gnostic visions for me. I race
through another week in the grip of my Daytimer,
my habit, my hairshirt.

1 comment:

Shefali said...

I really like this one since it resonates so truly.
of course, now, when anyone says hairshirt, I immediately think of Sir Lancelot. I think he could even be a voice of your poem: the perfect man with a huge guilt complex, alternating between running away from and running towards his hairshirt.
--Shefali.