Tomorrow is September 11, which will be a very tough day for some of us. Some of us will be doing service kinds of activities. Maybe some of us will meet in spiritual settings. I'll be finishing planning for the creativity retreat that Lutheridge offers each spring; that feels appropriate.
I haven't written much about September 11, and I'll write more about that tomorrow. I thought I'd offer a poem today, and when I looked at it, I realized that it's a Sept. 11 poem in a different way. It was recently published in Adanna. It's a poem that wouldn't exist without a variety of other people's thoughts and pictures on their blogs. For more on that process, head on over to this post I wrote when I first wrote the poem.
Restoring the Seams
She used to count every rib,
a loom around her heart,
like the Appalachian tool
that spools honey into her tea.
But years of good food and wine
now hide her ribcage.
She lets the seams
out of the side of her favorite
dress, a dress bought long ago,
a dress stitched by a distant
woman in Afghanistan in a different decade.
She thinks of that country
come undone, torn and shredded.
She slides the seam ripper
under threads made softer
by the humidity of many Southern summers.
She thinks of distant graveyards,
young men buried in alien
landscapes. She thinks of English ivy,
that invasive immigrant, clinging
to the marble markers,
obscuring the names beneath.
Hours later, half blind from restoring
seams, she walks the woods
of a neighboring monastery.
The monks have reclaimed
an old slave cemetery, but a toppled
angel lies face down in the rich dirt.
She sets the angel upright
and brushes soil off her half-eroded features.
A poet, a scholar, an administrator, a wanna-be mystic--always wrestling with the temptation to run away to join an intentional community--but would it be contemplative? social justice oriented? creative? in the mountains? in the inner city?--may as well stay planted and wrestle with these tensions and contradictions here, at the edge of America.