Emily and Isaiah Meet in Paris

8 January, 2015

From Isaiah…via the Gospel of Luke in today’s readings–

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.

10:37 AM Halifax Public Library 4th Floor

I am once again able to feel my thighs–thanks be to God–as it is a surreal sensation to be aware of feet and little again until you hit the waist. It was a cold walk between home and here today. What a feast I have found, though, to spread upon my one-person-sized table that is scootched right up to a plexiglass wall-edge, affording me a grand, sweeping view…augh, the open feel, the lines of the architecture and the way the sun stripes through the windows, slicing and gridding patches of wall and staircase throughout. I have the book I came here seeking so I could look at it for ideas to use with the kids next week–A Poke in the I is a great collection of concrete poetry for children. But, augh…such a bonus–I also have The Gorgeous Nothings, a coffee table sized collection of full color replicas of Emily Dickinson’s drafts that she wrote in pencil on slit-open envelopes.

For some reason, I find that pleasing…the image and idea of her roaming Amherst and her home with a pocket of folded envelope writings and a stub of pencil… Makes me think back to my cottage in Maine with carpets of purple iris and daffodils between the edge of the house and the rocky ocean coast…the reading chair in the kitchen, the accommodating kitchen meant to be lived and worked in for it to truly Be. And that, in turn, has me thinking back to what I wrote earlier about the opportunity to experience a taste of that grand, modest, imaginary, cottage, through the gift of living here, in this setting of place, time, and circumstance. It has me think about what I wrote about the chance to spend some days with friends near Antigonish last weekend, too…the landscape, sharing in the quiet of a house that knows of love.

At the same time this silvery-iridescent thread is wending through me, so too is the stark, frayed reality of what happened yesterday at Charlie Hebdo in Paris and the bounce-spring of what happened in the lesson I had with the 5th class yesterday when, perhaps for the first time, the students began to think about the effect of the sound of language used to render accessible to the senses the Words that fill our realities and imaginations. What will those Words be for today’s youth, given the violence and tragedy of the world’s reality? How will they be able to hang on to warm beauty AND be in solidarity with the increasingly bare and angular wounds of creation? How will they believe it possible, even a calling, to discover and reveal You as they work to heal those wounds in ways great and small?

Hm–perhaps, in fact, that is precisely where I and so many other educators come in… to help them believe that they can hold both realities…to hold fast to the love that casts out fear and to not be afraid to ache with the neighbor…and not just ache, but to work along side the neighbor toward change or in outrage at injustice or in protest or silent witness, to help them find ways that work for them of seeing into the life of things, of sensing you, of holding light in an open-palmed hand and allowing the light to lead them and to call to others along the journey.

A252

In this short life

that only [merely] lasts an hour

How much- how

little-is

within our

power.

 

–Emily Dickinson–

 

 

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