12 May 2020

The Last Gate



St. Oran's Chapel
St Oren's Chapel


Each gate we come to is not the last one.
We look for sanctuary in vain until
we accept our mortality, until
we find the bones and suck their marrow dry,
until we ask where and what the women are
in our salvation myths. Women are more
than receptacles. With eyes open, know
women as channels, more, as birth and death.
With eyes open, see them as the questers,
see them as earth herself, and take a knee
in reverence, more, take a knee to hand-
fast with her. Whatever our gender, touch
her, hold her, root in her, love her. Our last
obstacle has always been perception.
An animal of low status in meal
chains, we come to the bones when already
they are stripped bare. We find our nurture in
the marrow. So let's fill our mouths with sand-
and waterfalls, fill them with contrition.
Embrace this wasteland as our own body
and add our worth to the soil we need.
The ocean that engulfs us then will be
a soul, at last, healed and unknowable,
worthy of the infinite task ahead.




My blog poems are rough drafts.
   Please respect my copyright. 
 If you quote, credit this page.
     © 2020 Susan L. Chast




8 comments:

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Spectacular, Susan. I love seeing us as questers, channels, earth herself. I think we need to gather in our numbers and roar down the nonsense that is going on........once we can gather in groups again. I hope we are not gathering after the coming election over the same person we protested last time. My fervent prayer.

Lindi said...

Yes! To all of it, to the adding our worth to the soil, to the reverence and love and holding. Love it.

sarah said...

Nurturing ourselves as we nurture the earth - that's a worthy quest. Women have been disregarded for so long - not just women, but those "feminine" strengths. It's interesting to see that what is really important in a crisis is caring for others, feeding, nursing, transporting - all those traditional female roles are suddenly key.

Suzanne said...

Healing the ancient wounds of Earth goes hand in hand with redressing the imbalances of patriarchy upon women, non whites and minority groups I think. The passion of your poem really spoke to me. Suzanne of 'Mapping Uncertainty'

Kim M. Russell said...

I love that many of the poems written for this prompt are about women, written by women. There’s a good reason she’s called Mother Nature. You emphasised the continuing quest for sanctuary in the opening lines, Susan, and the quiet defiance of women in the lines:
‘…Women are more
than receptacles. With eyes open, know
women as channels, more, as birth and death.
With eyes open, see them as the questers,
see them as earth herself’.
I love the call to embrace wasteland and ocean, and agree with Sarah about feminine strengths.

Brendan said...

You harrow this chapel magnificently, Susan. Woman, the body, animals, the earth—all of it our "marrow" and must be surrendered to, our arms open wide. :Embrace this wasteland as our own body /
and add our worth to the soil we need." Humanity either will or it won't be an earth entity any more. Fine encapsulation of the task now at hand and so ripe with all of the earth's metaphors. Well done. -- Brendan

Brendan said...

PS Thanks for picturing the St. Oran chapel. Oran's pagan roots are very deep and Columba's embrace of his friend -- of that tradition -- speaks for respect for the ancient vowels. One of Iona's earlier names was Ioua and it was a temple of the moon-goddess -- men were prohibited from the island. Celtic tribes took it over and it was a druidic temple after that, with 360 standing stones set around the island's edge (they were pushed into the sea centuries later by Christians.)

Kerfe said...

"Our last
obstacle has always been perception."--that is the crux.