drawing down the moon

we remember you, mother
embodied in our bodies
whose arms stretch to reach
your waxing and waning above,
as within us you rise
to flash silver under skin

this knowing is timeless
how the goddess in us speaks
through mouths so long closed

and how we allowed our lips
to be sewn shut,
and stopped teaching our daughters
the rhythms of the earth, your wisdom

it was love that threaded the needle
for his thicker fingers, love
that gave our silence

but was it love that rode over us
with wheels carrying new gods
and finally the God,

the one who suggested
that our heads be covered
in his house, or cut
the hair caressing rivers
over our backs,
a murmuring distraction
streaming over shoulders,
or braided in nets
to tangle and trap hands
longing to free that flow

was it love that burned us

yes, we tempt
yes, we distract
yes, our bodies are doorways
to pleasure and life
as is all flesh

is it love that stones us

perhaps
we live closer to matter,
matrix, substance
as we build and hold life in us;
but division here
is a lie, an exercise
of semantics
when we are all one thing
and joy in it

is it love that divides us

our children know it
before words,
and hold this knowing after language,
until we thread that needle

is it love that breaks us

tonight
we remember you
mother
in our bodies
with these voices
drawing you down from night

is it love that feeds us

taking you up
through feet pressed intimately
& deeply past growing things
and into stone, our roots
deeper and drinking

it is love that frees us

unlearning a lie
we knelt to, a lie
that covers heads,
closes eyes

and silences

remember
we threaded that needle
and ours are the hands
that must stop sewing

***this is an old, old, reworked poem from some 20 years ago.  I removed some of the anger and added gentleness (I think).  Posting it for dVerse open link–you need to post there, people–, because although it goes against my faith as I experience it now, I still think it has a few things to say that are worth hearing.

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About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
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55 Responses to drawing down the moon

  1. unfetteredbs says:

    I would be interested to read the first version as well. Nicely done.. I really liked this.

  2. perhaps
    we live closer to matter,
    matrix, substance
    as we hold life in us;
    but division here
    is a lie, an exercise
    of semantics
    when we are all one thing
    and joy in it

    I think that this really does speak to a prejudice that often goes unnamed among people. Women are faulted for being closer to the world and not as abstract, detached and other-worldly as men and yet men and women alike often despise this quality when they see it in other men too.

    When I think about what makes poetry “feminine” for so many people (and makes young male poets “gay” unless they are aggressive) it is the admission of being “closer to matter.” When I think about many of the men I have known and what sometimes bonds them it is a quality of detachment or detachment as an act, a gambit. Your poem speaks to this which, I think, is part of how men and women play at being men and women but which is often overlooked.

    • Jeremy, spot on! I have never understood men who say they are connecting to a “feminine side” when they connect to their emotions. I always thought it was a human side, and, sadly, we learn as women it is fine to express it but men should not. I must add, though, that this prejudice does flow both ways–a cerebral (detached) woman is often seen as more masculine. We are such strange animals.

  3. Rhonda says:

    I see the prejudice but more in the church or religion that believes women should be ‘unseen’ and ‘unheard’. ugh (that and not this. this is briliiant!)

  4. nelle says:

    The oldies are such goodies!

  5. Ian Moone says:

    Really liking it and the great flow

  6. You are such a great poetress, Susan. You string words so beautifully.

  7. the voice is there, challenging and also affirming – amazing how institutions reproduce and reinforce myths, and the care they deploy to disguise the functionality of such myths! well done, Susan

  8. brian miller says:

    this knowing is timeless
    how the goddess in us speaks
    through mouths so long closed

    nice…and then the sewn shut mouths and in the end the truth of our own hands being the ones that did it and needing to stop…powerful piece…

  9. doncarroll says:

    great title here, and once again, you seem to be able to have an element of neruda in it. very nice susan:))

  10. Gay says:

    Yes, well I would see Catholicism written all through it, as we ourselves and our own pain and our own frustration and the coins that covered the eyes of the dead for centuries – roman coins for mine – covered my own too long. Now the splinters of faith fall unattached belonging to an out of date, out of time, controlling hysteria of the dark ages link to a lost empire. My faith is true to my nature and I’ve pulled loose the stitches and am now waving free. Well composed poem, the refrain very powerful pulling the meaning into tight meanings.

    • Gay–thank you so much. Love the image of the coins covering the eyes of the dead–brilliant and sorry I didn’t think of that :D

      Glad you are waving free and also glad this spoke to you.

  11. Timoteo says:

    An exercise of semantics/when we are all one thing…
    That’s the crux of it…isn’t it?

  12. Ruth says:

    what a beautiful, deep and insightful poem!

    and yes it is up to us to unlearn the lie and

    ours are the hands
    that must stop sewing

    thank you

  13. Uneven Stephen says:

    Wow, amazing poem. Very rich and layered!

  14. Daydreamer says:

    unlearning a lie
    we knelt to, a lie
    that covers heads,
    closes eyes

    Very powerful!

  15. tashtoo says:

    Drawing down that moon and embracing the divine feminine that has been stigmatized through the ages. This was wonderful…imagine truly finding a balance between what is and what should be…that…would be magical.

  16. janehewey says:

    you invoke deep, authentic power with this consummate blessing. it is brave and beautiful, just like you.

  17. Emily says:

    Beautifully expressed, powerful words. I love the recurring threading of the needle.

  18. lucychili says:

    love is all of that
    and still the best of all things
    some sewing is making

  19. Claudia says:

    we threaded that needle
    and ours are the hands
    that must stop sewing…love this..

  20. I like that it comes and goes with the needle and the different impacts of live. It’s a very clever poem.

  21. poemsofhateandhope says:

    I think this definately came across as gentle….but retained an elegant power (if that makes sense) – its funny, I always thought about the moon as being a man- (maybe that’s because I’m a man too) but I know lots who also see the moon as feminine

    • I think the moon is who we perceive it to be–and is both male and female. As long as we assign one gender to divinity, we are definitely missing the point, if we are all indeed created in the image of the divine :)

      Thanks so much for commenting!

  22. Leo says:

    It is love that does it all.. so I think it is with love, that we must stop sewing, if we must.

    Very interesting, and beautifully conceived poem, Susan :)

    Leo

  23. “perhaps
    we live closer to matter,
    matrix, substance
    as we build and hold life in us;” this line struck me deeply… a magnificent poem through and through

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