Whenever I draw deep from my inner monk I think of Kathleen Norris.
Reading “Dakota” many years ago changed the course of my inner dialogue from chiding myself over my desire for quiet, solitude, simplicity to one of understanding that this is something life giving and real for me. It was about that time in my life that I discovered that I am an introvert. All that time I thought I was just a lousy extrovert. Go figure.
I encountered Kathleen Norris first through her nonfiction writing and then through her poetry when I purchased “The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy & Women’s Work” a few years later. As I looked through ideas for our “poetry tuesday” this week I ran across this poem by Norris. It fits an odd shaped struggle for me, the opening lines grabbing me hard as I pursue Orthodoxy and what it means to be a modern woman in an ancient tradition.
(and buy more poetry…it’s good for your soul…)
By Kathleen Norris
I have lately come to the conclusion that I am Eve,
alias Mrs. Adam. You know, there is no account
of her death in the Bible, and why am I not Eve?
Emily Dickinson in a letter,
12 January, 1846
you’ll need your wits about you.
This is not a dream,
but a woman who loves you, speaking.
She was there
when you cried out;
she brushed the terror away.
when it was time to sin.
You were wise
to let her handle it,
and leave that place.
We couldn’t speak at first
for the bitter knowledge,
the sweet taste of memory
on our tongues.
Listen, it’s time.
You were chosen too,
to put the world together.