bitter water

they say life begins with the first drawn breath.
He must not pour olive oil on it or put incense on it, his offering, 
because it is a grain offering for jealousy, 
his offering is seed
a reminder-offering to draw attention to wrongdoing.
he gives up jealousy
After the priest has had the woman stand before the Lord, she pays with her body
he shall loosen her hair and place in her hands the reminder-offering,
life is the price
the grain offering for jealousy,
while he himself holds the bitter water that brings a curse.

they say life begins, counted two weeks before the last menses.
tansy mixed in water eliminates jealousy
but her sin is carried.

they say life begins the moment of conception.
bitter water. it is the way of women to taste it,
to carry shame if not deliver innocence.

we are always bearing and birthing something.

***italicized text is quoted from Numbers 5: 15, 18 -19(New International Version).  It stinks to be a pro-choice christian.  The prompt today for octpowrimo is taking sides.  I think I managed to stay firmly balanced on the fence for this one.  Thanks for reading this highly experimental piece.

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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51 Responses to bitter water

  1. davidtrudel says:

    Difficult subject Susan, but I like its edginess and provocative message.

  2. nelle says:

    For a balanced piece, it sure has power in its reflection.

  3. nelle says:

    Some subjects are like that… know the feeling all too well.

    Years ago, a decade and days now, I used to listen to iVillage radio, they had a live broadcast weekdays 12-5. The host ran a special segment every Thursday, on various goddesses. My gosh, I’d sit there and squirm when the goddess segment aired.

    One day I challenged myself… why the skittishness? It traced back to my Catholic roots. Though I left the church three decades before, the indoctrination left it’s mark. That was in my meltdown time, so it mixed with all the other stuff. As with most all of it, I blew past, eventually.

  4. Barbara says:

    I reread your poem a number of times,(always a good sign) as well as the passage from Numbers. I find your words provocative and profoundly balanced, something seldom seen when people speak about this topic. I especially loved your title and the last few lines. Well done, Susan!

  5. boomiebol says:

    Very well handled Susan!

  6. Mary says:

    So much meaning here, Susan. We are always bearing and birthing something…perhaps historically this has been women’s work?

  7. Curse these poems that make me think! 😉

  8. vivinfrance says:

    Well done for tackling this subject. I’m finding some of the Octpowrimo prompts really challenging, so I admire this all the more.

  9. You said it all. I don’t think women’s rights should even be open for discussion (politically) anymore. It took over 200 years to win them, what right has anyone to choose for them. Well said, very tactfully.

  10. very thought provoking…the closing line resonated with me aboslutely

  11. ayala says:

    Thought provoking, nicely done.

  12. brian miller says:

    nice…love the use of scripture in this…and nice closing line as well as always birthing something….and bearing something…and this is def a hard one not to choose sides on either…but then again are we the ones to determine that….well i think i will hold opinons…smiles…

  13. jomul7 says:

    yeah this is a tough one, but you handled it so well that I feel relieved because the Bible has to say the least not always women’s best interests at heart, but I think the exceptional women in the Bible who stand out also prove that there’s more than one narrative to follow.

  14. Myrna says:

    You approach one of the toughest of modern issues, with balance and wisdom. I love this write, especially the last line.

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  16. Kim Nelson says:

    This reads like a traditional tale, told to progeny when old enough to understand. The allusions and direct references work together to make this a powerful, non-dogmatic piece.

  17. kelly says:

    very interesting form… and a very tough topic. i like the way you presented it without being judgmental or preachy. well done!

  18. firmly balanced on the fence.. ha…this is a tough topic you chose..i think life begins even with the thought…and yes..we’re always birthing and bearing something..

  19. Patti says:

    Powerful piece, Susan. You did a good job keeping your balance. I would not have done so well, I’m afraid.

  20. Trent Lewin says:

    I don’t know if I would call that fence-sitting. Or rather, I’d say that fence-sitting sometimes leads to some wonderful stuff. Is there anywhere your mind doesn’t get to?

  21. Jeremy Nathan Marks says:

    I imagine it is difficult but you are honest and that comes through. 🙂

  22. bajanpoet says:

    This is a powerful piece … left me drawing breath. Very well done for a difficult topic. I know this decision personally….

  23. Rhonda says:

    In your close you mentioned how difficult it is to be a pro-life christian. No truer words. Our woman’s need to nurture and protect fights hand to hand with the teachings of our faith. How we feel vs how we act vs what we need vs what we believe. All we can do is follow our hearts, be true to ourselves, and hope that He knows from where it comes.

  24. Expertly done, Susan. And I must say that these experiments of yours have me stunned. 🙂

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