Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Your other name, by Tara Sophia Mohr


Mary Lou Williams - Gloria 
from her 1974 Zoning album

If your life doesn’t often make you feel
like a cauldron of swirling light –

If you are not often enough a woman standing
above a mysterious fire,
lifting her head to the sky –

You are doing too much, and listening too little.

Read poems. Walk in the woods. Make slow art.
Tie a rope around your heart, be led by it off the plank,
happy prisoner.

You are no animal. You are galaxy with skin.
Home to blue and yellow lightshots,
making speed-of-light curves and racecar turns,
bouncing in ricochet -

Don’t slow down the light and turn it into matter
with feeble preoccupations.

Don’t forget your true name:
Presiding one. Home for the gleaming.
Strong cauldron for the feast of light.

Strong cauldron for the feast of light:
I am speaking to you.
I beg you not to forget.


poem from Teaching With Heart: Poetry That Speaks to the Courage to Teach
thank you Aisha for the poem

1 comment:

Manuela said...

An editorial commentary to this post:

I've been increasingly - and painfully - aware, as I keep posting conversations here, that the classical music that I love is an exclusive men's club. It is painful because of all that has been lost, all the music that could've been and wasn't given space to take shape, the pain of those women hearing the music and not being able to share it - there's a place in my heart that misses all the music that would have come through women. (and I'm now looking more for what has come through)

Though I rebel against this injustice, invariably I come across a man's beautiful piece of music that begins a conversation with the poem and then I have to post that. Music would come through as it could, and it is beautiful.

For this poem, however, I couldn't even approach the 'classical' classical music - I tired but felt I was going against the poem, silencing it in a way. And then I remembered this quote:

"Life is full of ups and downs. Sometimes it’s rather ordinary, at other times chaotic. Spirituality helps us see the extraordinary in the ordinary business of life, and spiritual experiences can create new order out of chaos, or jazz out of discord. Sharon Welch noted in her discussion of spirituality that the famous jazz pianist Mary Lou Williams would occasionally pause in mid-performance to make audiences more attentive: “Listen! This will heal you!” she would say. This admonition, no doubt, got people’s attention and helped them listen in a whole new way. Significant spiritual experiences are like that. Some people report having spiritual experiences all the time. But significant spiritual experiences of deep learning seem to happen only occasionally. Such experiences offer hope, healing, or affirmation, as if to say, just like just like Mary Lou Williams’ admonition to her audiences, “Listen! This will heal you! This will teach you something new.” They stand out as “shimmering moments” in our lives- moments that we often go back to with awe and wonder. The ongoing power of their “shimmer” endures as we continue to make meaning. These are often moments of significant learning that lead to continued development." - Elizabeth J. Tisdell (from Spirituality in culture and higher education)

and I could hear the conversation starting even before getting to the music - hear the urgency in the poem, and the urgency in Mary Lou's admonitions: 'Listen!' - and - 'This will heal you!'

and I heard them both saying 'This is important!' and 'This is possible!' - and then the music quickly joined in.