A Joy So Violent

She lay on her back in the timothy
and gazed past the doddering
auburn heads of sumac.

A cloud – huge, calm,
and dignified – covered the sun
but did not, could not, put it out.

The light surged back again.
Nothing could rouse her then

from that joy so violent
it was hard to distinguish from pain.

~Jane Kenyon, “The Poet at Ten” from The Best Poems of Jane Kenyon

I have a mare who journeyed as a foal
from overseas alongside her mother,
a difficult immigration to a new life and farm,
followed by the drama of weaning and separation,
then introduced to a new herd who didn’t speak her language
so she couldn’t always understand what was being said.

She was shy and fearful from the beginning,
knowing she didn’t belong,
worried about doing the wrong thing,
cringing when others laid back ears at her or bared their teeth,
she always hung back and let others go first,
waiting hungry and thirsty while others had their fill.

What she did best was be a mother herself,
devoting herself to the care of her foals,
as they became the light of her life
though still covered with the cloud of not belonging,
she grieved loudly at their weanling goodbyes.

Still, two decades later, in her retirement,
she is shy and submissive, still feeling foreign,
as if she never quite fit in,
always letting others go first,
concerned about making a misstep.

I think of her as an immigrant
who never felt at home
unless she had a baby at her side~
to live alongside one to whom she finally belonged:
how does one measure the pain of true joy and love
while knowing the violence of separation is inevitable?

thank you to Lea Gibson Lozano and Emily Vander Haak for their photos of Belinda and her babies

7 thoughts on “A Joy So Violent

  1. All Comments here are emotionally beautiful, sublime, knowing, tear inducing within
    our souls, understanding, refuting the constant madness, half-truths,
    and diabolically-hidden realities that shout at and disturb our sensibilities each day.
    I, too, come away from these bittersweet true memories herein of those souls who
    suffer intensely — alone, un-noticed, dismissed so easily, never understood,
    i.e., no one wants to hear, to try to listen to and understand… ‘their story, their painful desperate journey here.’
    They are automatically dismissed as ‘the other,’ different cultural ways of ‘being. are suspect.
    Never invited to ‘join.’ (resulting in the killing of innocent ones’ spirit, will to live….)
    ready to contribute the untried gifts that are within them and so wanting to share….
    and to learn….

    Another plug for our daily waking prayer to The Spirit within:

    It works!
    Believe it:
    He understands.
    As an ‘immigrant,’ a Community ‘outsider,’ ‘the ‘other’…
    He will take it from there!
    He has ‘been there, done that,’ as we often say….

    (I speak of Jesus, the Christ of the Universe, who began His brief human existence in an animal feeding
    place, one cold night in a strange country, unable to speak or to understand a new
    language, different customs.)

    But He came among us with a Message so new, so strong, so vital, that it must have nearly burst
    from within His heart, His soul:
    Simple — but earth- and heaven- shattering — FIRST He needed to show us through His personage
    that His Father loved us so that He had no way, no words, that we could fathom and believe and,
    most urgent — to share and to pass on.

    SECOND, through the Son’s life and His teaching, He showed us the WAY — to live, to love, to share,
    but, most importantly, to SEE outside of our own sometimes insular selves.

    History shows us that not all who have heard accepted or believed His Message.
    And we passed through millennia hurting, killing each other and we find ourselves, once more, in a
    frightening, seemingly unsolvable pit of despair with the possibility of distinction of all that we have known
    in our temporary Home….Two words describe what are the catalysts that are responsible for where we
    are and have been lately for decades:

    Thirty years or so later, after hours of indescribable throbbing pain and hearing the jeers and insults of many
    who came to watch the Persian-Roman ‘sport’ of Crucifixion — He was consigned to a lowly ‘criminal’s’ death
    nailed naked and bleeding from a tree…)

    His Message still survives — as does His Presence within us.
    All we must do is to re-discover both and we will be victorious
    in the way that He was, and is.

    Liked by 1 person

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