Gratitude, dear God, for taking me out
of the shadow into the Light glowing
from you to me and out. For should
I hide my Light under a bushel's weight?
I am ready to hear your voice in here;
Ready to speak the truth out there.
My house is your house, forever
and no power can remove you
and no power can silence me.
Detail from etching by Robert Spence
Margaret Fell, mothering Quakerism—
the Religious Society of Friends—
read in the scriptures that God, Jesus and
angels gave women the word to carry
and so she did, in and out of prison.
Margaret Fell met George Fox’s ministry
with a woman’s equality and strength
and one hundred years before Mary’s Rights
of Women justified women’s speaking
in the Light of the Gospels and Jesus.
Religious descent and persecution
were not her aim, but became her Cross
to bear for freedom of conscience in faith
versus the Church of England, for heavenly
kingdoms on earth devoid of violence.
Margaret Fell mothered nine children without
faltering and when she felt the Light cried
out "We are all thieves; we are all thieves; we
have taken the scriptures in words, and know
nothing of them in ourselves." She learned true
Light—not the word given by priests and books,
but what she spoke as a prophet herself
following Christ from then on, speaking truth
to power, writing from this heart we have,
all of us, deep inside, convinced but still.
Afraid, we are weakened by freedom to
speak without prison and deprivation.
Afraid or unthinking, we live fat and sleek
despite God’s calling and nature’s crying.
Afraid, we turn from Light and deny truth.
But visit the Lady of Swarthmoor Hall
and see that first-hand knowledge trumps
other ways of life, that ecstasy and
Light are worth danger, that friends of Jesusare equal to the challenge of the cross.
Listen to a beautiful musical setting of Margaret Fell's words
This is a rough start of an epic poem for my prompt
Copyright © 2015 S.L.Chast