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Scattered aloft over yards and yards

August 5, 2010

As I was reading Merton’s poem, “Hagia Sophia” I had to stop reading it.  I can only take a little piece of it at a time.  Its brightness overwhelms me.  I’m surprised that I could not read the whole of the poem.  My solar plexus became a herd of raging butterflies.  I averted my eyes like I did the day I saw a field of narcissi in Switzerland, like when I gaze upon crags covered in snow.  The beauty is too much for me to bear.  Can I in my tinyness hold such magnificence without exploding like a balloon into bits and pieces spread in all directions?

In a scene from a novel I once read, the author described the aftermath of a suicide bomber– bits of flesh and sinew here and there for yards and yards.  It was a grisly picture, but it has stuck with me more than either the title or the author.  Well, that’s how I feel.  How strange that such a gruesome picture should arise in the midst of such incredible beauty.  Hmmm.  But I swear, if I gaze further, I shall be blown to bits, literally, scattered aloft over yards and yards.

Such is the power of Sophia inside me.  She is everywhere. She highlights every leaf and blade of grass, coppers each tiny hair on my black cat’s back.  She is the glint in an eye as it glances; the whole world in a raindrop.  As the sun scorches me each day, and the sweat rivulets through my scalp, I feel Her. I smell her in the barn, I nuzzle her in the upturned face of Juliana, ever expectant of her long-ago-gone bottle. She nuzzles a bottom to encourage a draught of mother’s milk.  She kisses me and I am annoyed with each nose-invading fly. She bites and welts my calves if I wander too close to the standing water in the fields.  Hard to believe that mosquitoes are her harbingers — of what?  She has to be there.  She is everywhere.  She left nothing bereft of her Light.  Even in the acrid smell of urine, pooled in craters where the poop was scooped.  Even the poop pellets carry her fragrance. I cannot call Her anything but beautiful.

She loves me with her gifts. She rains down on me in every speck of hay that sticks to my sweat. She itches, She tickles, She bumps, She bruises, She annoys me to distraction. But I cannot deny Her. I will not say, “I knew You not.” I will not say, “I am blind to You in this thing, but see You in that.”  For You are in All; You are ALL.

I must open my eyes and see You.  I cannot avert my eyes – To do so means that I refuse to see the poor, the disfigured, the naughty, the cruel, the nasty, the dregs and feces – the urine pools of the world.

O Earthly Light, fill my nose with Your odor, Your sweetness.  Let me reject none of You. Fill my eyes with Your World.  Let me not turn away from Who You are. Blow me to bits. Render me liquid. Scatter me for yards and yards.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 5, 2010 10:01 pm

    Nancy!! Everything went over my head!! Is Juliana a character in the poem that you read? I’ve not heard about the author. Who is Sophia?

  2. August 6, 2010 7:46 am

    Sweet Punam,
    I guess this post was intended to “go over” the reader’s “head.” It didn’t come out of my head, but my heart. It isn’t to be logicked out. It’s a soul piece, as is Thomas Merton’s, though I would never compare myself to his depth of wisdom.

    Here are some things that might help. Thomas Merton was a contemplative monk living in Kentucky and for a time in the far east. He has written exquisite pieces, particularly, New Seeds of Contemplation, and this poem about Hagia Sophia. His ability to touch into his own God Presence was (is) very inspiring. He is one of my teachers. I quoted him on one of my first blogs as well.

    Hagia Sophia, (Greek for Holy Wisdom), is to me the all-embracing, all-encompassing feminine Presence that is fills us with such love we almost burst. She is Our Mother of Compassion. She is Our Tenderness, Our Gentle Strength, Our Forgiveness and Forgivenness. She births us into God. She is Our Salve and Our Comfort. She is Our Beloved.

    Evidently, Hagia Sophia visited Merton in a dream one night enabling him to write the epic poem to her. When you read it, you will get a sense of what She is.

    Hagia Sophia is also the name of an incredible edifice in Istanbul that was built in early Christianity. It’s Christian trappings have all been destroyed over the centuries to convert it into a mosque which it is today. Its architecture makes it one of the most beautiful building in the world.

    Juliana is an 8-month-old alpaca baby whom I bottle fed for over 6 months. She’s been weaned but still waits expectantly for me to come to the barn. I let her out to get some extra grain and she hangs around me like a special friend when I do my barn work. Where most alpacas back off when approached, Juliana welcomes embraces and kisses on her velvety nose and lips. She’s a doll!

    Hope this helps.

  3. August 9, 2010 10:56 am

    “O Earthly Light, fill my nose with Your odor, Your sweetness. Let me reject none of You. Fill my eyes with Your World. Let me not turn away from Who You are. Blow me to bits. Render me liquid. Scatter me for yards and yards.”

    Very powerful Nancy…thank you for sharing such beauty

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