Awaiting His Arrival: From Trouble to Mystery

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The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.
30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary…”
38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
Luke 1: 28-30, 38

 

…to bear in her womb
Infinite weight and lightness; to carry
in hidden, finite inwardness,
nine months of Eternity; to contain
in slender vase of being,
the sum of power –
in narrow flesh,
the sum of light.

Then bring to birth,
push out into air, a Man-child
needing, like any other,
milk and love –

but who was God.
~Denise Levertov from “The Annunciation”

 

This is the honest grace of her body:
that she is afraid, and in this moment does not
hide her fear.
Until in the cave of her body
she might feel without willing it a tenderness
begin to form. Like the small, ghostly
clover of the meadow; the deer hidden
in the hills. A tenderness like mourning.
The source of love, she thinks, is mourning.
…the child that will soon form
inside her body, this loss by which we come
to bend before the given, its arms that open
unexplained, and take us in.
~Laurie Sheck from “The Annunciation”

 

Still, the secret at her heart burns like
a sun rising. How to hold it in—
that which cannot be contained.

But then, part dazzled, part prescient—
she hugs her body, a pod with a seed
that will split her.
~Luci Shaw from “Mary Consider Her Situation”

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Tenderness Upon Tenderness

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Abandon entouré d’abandon, tendresse touchant aux tendresses…
C’est ton intérieur qui sans cesse se caresse, dirait-on;
se caresse en soi-même, par son propre reflet éclairé.
Ainsi tu inventes le thème du Narcisse exaucé.
~Rainer Maria Rilke “Dirait-on” from his French Poetry collection ‘Les chansons de la rose’

Translation by Clarissa Aykroyd

Abandon upon abandon,
tenderness upon tenderness…
Your hidden self unceasingly
turns inward, a caress;

caressing itself, in and of its own
reflection illuminated.
Thus you’ve invented the tale
of Narcissus sated.

 

The dozen red roses from my husband for Valentine’s Day brought this beautiful piece to mind:
There is nothing so tender as a rose in full bloom–
no longer an enclosed bud
but an opening,
petal unfolding upon petal
in caressing abandon.

Morten Lauridsen’s choral version –http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWXVZlrLa6E

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Given the Choice

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I go to the mountain side
of the house to cut saplings,
and clear a view to snow
on the mountain. But when I look up,
saw in hand, I see a nest clutched in
the uppermost branches.
I don’t cut that one.
I don’t cut the others either.
Suddenly, in every tree,
an unseen nest
where a mountain
would be.
~Tess Gallagher “Choices”

Such tenderness,
such recognition of the other,
to save the nest
and all future potential nests
rather than a clear cut stripping
for the sake of unimpeded world view,
when the freedom of a mountain backdrop
is sacrificed–

such tenderness
when the right to choose can only mean
choosing to do right.

 

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Now We Know…

 “How joyful to be together, alone as when we first were joined in our little house by the river long ago, except that now we know each other, as we did not then; and now instead of two stories fumbling to meet, we belong to one story that the two, joining, made. And now we touch each other with the tenderness of mortals, who know themselves…”
Wendell Berry

Thirty one years ago today we became one story, a story still being told.   What joy it is to know you and be known by you!
May our story have many more chapters celebrating the poetry of life together, with a minimum of plot twists and cliffhangers.

We’ll trust the Author who touches us with Words as tenderly as we touch each other.  It is bliss to love and be loved from the first page to the last.