Renunciation

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Almost three months in, the day had come.
We placed our chairs on the deck, facing the gardens,
spring flowers blooming and birdsong blossoming, colors
bleached by the brilliant light of the midday sun.

It looked
like we’d staged a Damascene conversion;
invoking transformation, we could
no longer doubt that the world had changed,
and our lives
were on a different road.

You sat, and I draped your shoulders
with a towel,
lord of all you surveyed,
and I, your handmaiden, cut
your glittering hair,
then you cut mine, a strange new ritual,
that somehow stopped time, my breath,
and mattered.
Illuminated.

Until now, this hadn’t seemed
substantially real.

Long ago, when girls prepared
to renounce the world–every
fascinating spectacle, tawdry lure and
gaudy spangle (and strangers,
surprises, and deep delight)–
their hair was shorn to mark the surrender.

Sometimes, they were offered
a crown of thorns,
for, not only were they turning
to confinement with shining grace,
but vowing to share
their life with
Love’s suffering.

A robin darted down and snatched
a silver curl to weave
into his nest.

I thought,
this is what it is now and
what it may be always–
the world renounced,
forgotten, silver curls
hanging from every tree brilliant
in the midday light,
us, on our chairs,
shorn and shining,
wearing our crowns of suffering,
sharing our life of grace.

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6 thoughts on “Renunciation

  1. I also hear you honouring the nun who had taught you all those years ago for the life she had chosen …
    My best wishes and love to you both

    1. Thank you, dear one. That’s very kind of you and much appreciated. I hope you are doing well this week. Gardens are exploding here. 😊 Blessings on your week’s end. ♥️

  2. Hi Kitty I am writing from an opera company in London and we would love to ask if we could use the words of And The People Stayed Home to make a 5 minute Pop Up Opera for taking out on the streets and into community centres in the UK as part of our next season of Pop Ups. Would this be ok? I would love to tell you more about the project if possible. Thank You.

  3. Thank you so much for your kindness in reaching out and your appreciation for the poem. I’m sorry that, due to current contractual obligations, I’m unable to share the poem for publications or projects requiring joint contracts at this time, and must expressly reserve all rights to my work unless legally and justly pursued.

    Stay well and safe.
    Gentle peace,
    Kitty O’Meara

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