my muse, the paralytic


I had been reading The Shack. I had been talking about God a lot to my children, saying He is this. He is that. I had been cleaning and organizing, making the pantry look roomier for house-lookers who might think they could have it all organized and scheduled here in this spaciously perfect dream of a home. 
I had been writing. I had written a poem about my grandmother, whose birthday may be today (I don’t know). I had written about her birth, how doctors had to push her out, forcing palms down on her mother’s abdomen; how the next day, they weighed her at the candy store on the bologna scales. She was a 12 pound red-head. 
I had written about God – again – His this and that, the Hows, the Whys. 
Then, there slammed down the writer’s block – or rather a few blocks: a stat-counter (informing me of my readership), a friend’s disgust at chatty happy christians, a book that became my dread, a three-year-old child who decided that God doesn’t live in our world, and my awareness of my heart flinching 92 times a minute in the middle of any normal night. 
All of this has turned me so inside myself that my spirit-ears have become bedridden.
This is a quenched spirit, total self-awareness, familiar to other edge-walkers, I know. You cannot serve one and love the other, Jesus and fear. 
When I write again, it will be in hallelujahs. It will be when I let Isaac believe for now that God is indeed a “magical band-aid.” I will come with a raised muse when I can see like a child (like Isaac), neck craned far back for the one speck of blue in the sky, when I say, “See there! That is beautiful. Look at the beautiful things. God makes the Blue!” 
——-

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amberhaines
About me

5 Comments

Kara
Reply August 22, 2008

you are just beautiful. so is your heart.

Anonymous
Reply August 23, 2008

amber, i love you. your honesty and level of conviction are unmatchable.
i couldn't live this live wo you.
b

Angela
Reply August 27, 2008

are you ready for the longest comment ever?
good. here goes.
so, i'm thinking that one thing a lot of writers seem to have in common is the way in which people come up to us and say, "thank you for being so honest." we are honest. we have to be if we don't want to write crap. anyone can see through crap and no one wants to read crap, so we spill our guts because there is no way of keeping them inside of us and staying full, but it's damn hard work and crazy making work. i'm thinking about the writing life and you - what i know of you. i have a present for you.

so, last weekend i'm reading rilke and i read this poem and i think of you and writing and how we create these lives with our writing, sometimes, "without making sense of it" hoping that "green life will ripen" in it for someone later, and i immediately want to give it to you, i have this strong desire to give it you, but my heart is feeling sad and selfish and i don't get around to giving it to you. then today, i come on over to your blog and i read this post and i think, damn, i should have given amber that poem this weekkend when it came to me. i need to do that.

so, here it is. i have a lot more to say about all this and maybe i will another time, but this is for you, tied up in a bow and brown paper, some good thoughts on what the truth telling is. i hope it does your heart good.

And you inherit the green
of vanished gardens
and the motionless blue of fallen skies,
dew of a thousand dawns, countless summers
the sun sang, and springtimes to break your heart
like a young woman’s letters.

You inherit the autumns, folded like festive clothing
in the memories of poets, and all the winters,
like abandoned fields, bequeath you their quietness.
You inherit Venice, Kazan, and Rome;

Florence will be yours, and Pisa’s cathedral,
Moscow with bells like memories,
and the Troiska convent, and that monastery
whose maze of tunnels lies swallowed under Kiev’s gardens.

Sound will be yours, of sting and brass and reed,
and sometimes the song will seem
to come from inside you.

For your sake poets sequester themselves,
gather images to churn the mind,
journey forth ripening with metaphor,
and all their lives they are so alone…
And painters paint their pictures only
that the world, so transient as you made it,
can be given back to you,
to last forever.

All becomes eternal. See. In the Mona Lisa
some woman has long since ripened like wine,
and the enduring feminine is held there
through all the ages.

Those who create are like you.
They long for the eternal.
They say, Stone, be forever!
And that means: be yours.

And lovers also gather your inheritance.
They are the poets of one brief hour.
They kiss an expressionless mouth into a smile
as if creating it anew, more beautiful.

Awakening desire, they make a place
where pain can enter;
that’s how growing happens.
They bring suffering along with their laughter,
and longing that had slept and now awaken
to weep in a stranger’s arms.

They let the riddles pile up and then they die
the way animals die, without making sense of it.
But maybe in those who come after,
their green life will ripen;
it’s then that you will inherit the love
to which they gave themselves so blindly, as in a sleep.

Thus the overflow from things
pours into you.
Just as a fountain’s higher basins
spill down like strands of loosened hair
into the lowest vessel,
so streams the fullness into you,
when things and thoughts cannot contain it.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Amber
Reply August 27, 2008

Angela! I know I'll think about this comment years from now. You can write to me like that for a day of computer screen-frames. For a million reasons, I cried through that poem, my new favorite. I'm so glad that I hadn't read it before now. It was perfect today. Thank you for the gift and for your thoughts toward me.

Kimberly
Reply September 5, 2008

I am so self-absorbed right now!

How did I miss this post?!

And Angela's response?!

I love getting to glimpse the lives of other women, other writers, other daughters of the King...

All of this has turned me so inside myself that my spirit-ears have become bedridden.

May your ears be released to hear from the father during your sabbath, and may your heart be released to write and speak and love.

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