Christin's Words from Sunshine Hill

If it is to be music
you must be present to it, must offer to it
a profound self-remembering.
-from Altar Music

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Massacre of Innocents

Snow Hole by Alison Scott
A dream awoke me. A child lying cruciform, dead on the ground. Oh, I thought again--the massacre, the innocents. Wasn't the news horrific? John and I spoke of it again this morning before prayer, the paradox of life on earth, the paradox of Christmas when the divine child was born and the Bethlehem infants were slaughtered. Novelist, Jose Saramago, in his THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST, imagines that both Joseph and Jesus suffered their entire lives over the death of those children. The children died; they survived. And history played itself out in the crux of that paradox.

We lit the candles for morning prayer. The reading from Isaiah brought the voices of the children, crying out to us:

From deep in the earth you shall speak;
From low in the dust your words will come;
Your voice shall come from the ground like the voice of a ghost,
And your speech shall whisper from out of the dust. (IS.29:7-8)

We closed our eyes in contemplation. My heart burned. Time disappeared. When I opened my eyes again, snow was falling. Immediately came the words of Sarah, Job's wife in the play J.B. by Archibald MacLeish:

Cry out for justice and the stars 
Will stare until your eyes sting.Weep,
Enormous winds will thrash the water.
Cry in sleep for your lost children,
Snow will fall...
                         Snow will fall...

This verse has accompanied me since 1962 when I first saw and then read the play. It has taken me through some of the most painful of times--personal and in world affairs. Those last two lines have seemed the key when no answers are available. Here's how they sound to me: Snow will fall--there is no answer, there is the world being as it is. And Snow will fall--Ah, and despite it all, beauty remains and "love among the ruins" as another wordsmith reminds. So many voices in my mind today. Not least of which is my dear Emily Dickinson and her poem that when sung almost explodes my heart:

There came a Wind like a Bugle--
It quivered through the Grass
And a Green Chill upon the Heat
So ominous did pass--

We barred the Windows and the Doors
As from an Emerald Ghost--
The Doom's electric Moccasin
That very instant passed--

On a strange Mob of panting Trees
And Fences fled away--
And Rivers where the Houses ran
Those looked that lived--that Day--
 
The Bell within the steeple wild
The flying tidings told--
How much can come
And much can go,--

And yet abide the World!
And yet abide the World!
And yet abide the World!

And yet abide the World!
 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

My Mother and Sister and the Rain

From the dark come delicate taps of rain on the windows behind the couch where I sit. Farther out, on the wood of the deck the rain has a lower tone, sounds heaver somehow. As I type both sounds increase, the rhythms of the window rain with the deck rain syncopate. I could drift to sleep in this sound. It occurs to me that inner and outer become more and more difficult to tell apart. There seems to be a sound inside of me that is also rain. Maybe it has something to do with age or artistry, this confusion of within and without. Fewer boundaries exist as well between dream and awakening. Reality shimmers around the edges. Does it also have a within and without, both a form of being? Is this what Eliot meant when he told us that humankind cannot bear very much of it? Not because we might leave reality, but rather we might merge with it. Is that merger death? Or is it a greater life?

Don't, please, think me strange when I tell you that I believe my sister is standing here beside me with my mother. All of us had a magical fondness for the rain. I read this today in a book about St. Clare:

"As she enters into the Divine embrace, she is to realize the transience of earthly things and the infinite wealth of heaven, which is not a place but a relationship of love."

And if so, does it not follow that my sister and my mother are in the rain they loved and also in me. They've never gone anywhere but here. In the Rain. In the Divine embrace. In the tap, tap, tap of Love within and upon the heart.