Sunday, April 03, 2005

A Found Again Gem

One poem that meant and means a lot to me.. I found this in the clutter of of my documents as I was spring-cleaning this morning. Not that it is any less precious for that. For the time in my life when I first saw this it is even more significant.

I was at the time in Abhimanyu's Chakrvayu. While I had known to love abdundantly , I did not know how to escape from a relationship that was asphixiating me. In "chaining my soul" to his R may have wanted to live our wedding mantras. .

"After crossing seven steps with me thus, you should become my friend. I too have become your friend now. I will never discord this friendship and you should not also do that. Let us be together always. Let us resolve to do things in life in the same manner and tread the same path. Let us lead a life by liking and loving each other, having good heart and thoughts, and enjoying the food and our strong points together. Let us have undivided opinions. We will perform the vrithas united. Let us have same and joint desires. I will be Sama (one of the vedas); you will be Rig (another Veda). Let me be the Heaven; you be the Earth. Let me be the Shukla (Moon) and you be its wearer. Let me be the mind and you its spokesman (Vak). With these qualities, you be my follower. You the sweet tongued, come to me to get good male children and wealth."

In that subtle disconnect between letter and spirit of our vows to each other I was dying slowly. Many times in life when I've sought direction desperately, it has come to me in the wisdom of someone far removed from my situation and circumstances.

After a while you learn
the subtle difference between
holding a hand and chaining a soul
and you learn
that love doesn't mean leaning
and company doesn't always mean security.

And you begin to learn
that kisses aren't contracts
and presents aren't promises
and you begin to accept your defeats
with your head up and your eyes ahead
with the grace of woman, not the grief of a child
and you learn
to build all your roads on today
because tomorrow's ground is
too uncertain for plans
and futures have a way of falling down
in mid-flight.

After a while you learn
that even sunshine burns
if you get too much
so you plant your own garden
and decorate your own soul
instead of waiting for someone
to bring you flowers.

And you learn that you really can endure
you really are strong
you really do have worth
and you learn
and you learn
with every goodbye, you learn...

© 1971 Veronica A. Shoffstall


Priyamvada_K said...

So very poignant, Crossings! Don't know if I've yet reached the "grace of a woman and not grief of a child" stage. Some days are still rough.

Take care,

Priyamvada_K said...

Oh, and this "good male children" bugs the heck outta me too. Its painful, actually. My mom always prayed for boys and more boys. And when I had Kamala she made a face and said "Oh. A girl". I gave her a look and said "Not again". In my mind I went Never again.

How sad it is for a woman to internalize such messages and start to not want children of her own gender?

And 30+ years of being with me hasn't changed her. Sigh - I haven't accepted this with the grace of a woman either. The grief of a child comes up every now and then.