compel my flesh to stir.
will new landscapes through
dine upon my potent supplication.
peel the lonely longing from
your swelling desire.
partake of flaming majesty, while
speaking: yes, over and over and
over again, rising and falling in
love’s newly remembered caress.
breathe me in.
breathe me out.
© Margot Van Sluytman, somewhere beyond: poems dancing with godde, god, pilgrimage, and pulsating love, Palabras Press, 2006
In a recent interview, I stated with equanimity that I loved the man, Glen, who murdered my Father, Theodore. Comments to this fact ranged from deep and poignant understanding, to heinous and savage attacks. What struck me was that some of the poignant comments were from non-Christians and some of ugly comments were from Christians. This did not shock me or cause me grief. I felt I was offered an opportunity to explore why it is that we are quick to jump to conclusions, scissoring out taut and staid definitions in the act of trying to make sense of life; and, in so doing, truncating our very own beauty, inadvertently negating the birth of hope.
In my poem, “breathe me”, from my book, somewhere beyond: poems dancing with godde, god, pilgrimage, and pulsating love, agape is fleshed out, worded-in.
I had not known it at the time I wrote that poem over twelve years ago, that I was articulating agape. Agape is a Greek word that denotes an all-encompassing love.
For me agape is breath. Is breathing. Is being breathed. Raised Catholic, full-disclosure for this piece permits me to share that I do not have the firm belief in Jesus and Christ and three persons in one God, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, or Mother, Son, and Holy Spirit. What I do believe in is breath. And begin breathed by and for love. Love that leans into and surrenders to, Vocatus Atque Non Vocatus, Deus Aderit. Erasmus’ words, Invoked or not God is present. In that presence, is life’s breath inviting each of us to remember our shared-humanity, even as other definitions and descriptors launched at us by those who would have us fit definitions feel unkind.
In the cosmological dance wherein we are each connected by Mystery, we in-form, re-form, trans-form, and are trans-formed when we remember that we are of Word made flesh, breathing and breathed daily in the crucible of our shared-humanity, sculpted by our lived-experiences. Our choice to partake of flaming majesty and to speak yes to life is offered to us daily. And in those moments when we can not give of love to ourselves or to others, we are breathed.
Margot Van Sluytman is an award-winning poet, lecturer, Sawbonna/Restorative Justice practitioner, and therapeutic writing mentor. Her talks and workshops are shared around the globe, most recently at Cambridge and Durham Universities, UK. Her published books include: Sawbonna: A Real Life Restorative Justice Story; The Other Inmate: Poetry and Workbook for Restorative Practices; Dance With Your Healing: Tears Let Me Begin to Speak ; and, Somewhere Beyond: Poems Dancing With Godde, God, Pilgrimage, and Pulsating Love. While working on her second Master’s Degree in Theology, her first MA was in Integrated Arts Studies with a focus on Sawbonna/Restorative Justice and Therapeutic Writing, she decided that that school and environment of the that theology school were not in sync with feminism and far too androcentric. She left. Margot, whose Spirit Name is, RavenSpeaks, believes that the personal, the public, and the political are symbiotic siblings. http://sawbonna.wordpress.com/