Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Poem for the Feast Day of Gertrude the Great

Today is the feast day of Gertrude the Great.  For more on that feast day and the appeal of medieval monastics, see this post at the Living Lutheran site.

Or maybe you'd like a poem!  I wrote this one years ago, and it has yet to be published.  It occurs to me that I've stopped sending it out, so why not post it here?  I originally titled it "Monk's Habits," but I think I like "Monastic Habits" better.

It's a nice juxtaposition with the feast day.  Enjoy.

Monastic Habits

To put on a robe that would forgive
her for a heavy meal, so unlike
her tailored suits. A robe made of rough
material, no need of special laundering.
Goodbye to astronomical dry cleaning bills.
No worrying about matching accessories.
Always a drab color, day after day.

That robe could buy her anonymity,
invisibility in the world,
no eyes disrobing her, no leers.
That robe declaring her off limits.

And housework, those boring tasks, always renewing
themselves, would confer spiritual
discipline, instead of complaints about her ineptitude.

Even silence, that vow which mystified
her teenage self, more so even than chastity,
now calls to her. She sees herself enshrouded in silence,
no carping, complaining, or criticizing.
She sees herself surrounded by like-minded companions,
rising early in common pursuit, breathing
air perfumed by incense and rising bread dough,
as prayers rise to the heavens.

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