Creation by Sharon Humphries-Brooks


It seems to me to be appropriate that since I’ve received so many ideas to consider, wondrous gifts, and thought-provoking insights from many of the essays, poems, and stories in the Feminism and Religion blogs, I should also give something in return.  One of the most precious gifts that I can offer is my writing.  So. . .

A bit ago, I started working on the book Mushente.  It takes place, among other locales, on a planet called—you guessed it—Mushente.  Many people who live there “walk” in the Mushente Way.  Below, I’ve copied the poem that opens that work.  As you can see, I’ve been very influence by a feminist interpretation of early Taoism.

 “Creation” 

In the beginning
before the beginning
in the end with no end
In the dark
empty dark
even darker-than-night
the motherwomb dances
dances alone

Gestures so subtle
they only seem
to exist
movement
the shape of no shape
Eternally hidden
nowhere unseen
in stillness she dances
the empty
the great

Mu-te
One-ne-te
suwu suwan
mi-o chi-o
wuming fan

Then the stirring begins
in the dark empty pool
In the stillness
the stirring begins
No pebble is dropped
still sweet ripples start swaying
in the still empty pool
of the mother’s womb

as this motion-without-cause
without cause keeps repeating
swelling swelling
‘til at last she is born
The One
she is born
who knows herself fully
knows herself fully
to be
the
One

And knowing herself
she knows well her mother
and knowing her mother
loves without end
And loving her mother
refuses to leave her
refuses
to leave
the mother’s
womb

But “play!” cries the mother
to her only born child
“play, then return,
I will always be here.”

In the breath of that speaking
her waters unbind them
divide them
’til shore bound
the child stands
alone
But knowing the dance
as the trees know the breeze
the One freely laughs
warm whispers of joy
With sweet swaying sounds
and tears staining her face
with waxing and waning
new birth
still
takes place

Mu-te
One-ne-te
suwu suwan
mi-o chi-o
wuming fan

With laughter
with laughter
the beginning begins
And the One becomes Two
and the Two become Three
and the Three become
Ten thousand things.

Copyright 2017, Sharon Humphries-Brooks

Sharon Humphries-Brooks is the founder of StoryHorizons, which supports story-performance as the nexus of tradition, practice and emergence in the verbal arts.  She’s worked as a storyteller, writer, and teacher among people ranging in ages from 4 to 94. Her work has been supported by grants from the Maryland State Arts Council, the Howard County Arts Council, the New York Foundation for the Arts, The New York State Council for the Arts, and The New York Folklore Society. She now writes, edits, and promotes other writer/storytellers and storytellers.  She is currently editing & contributing stories to a collection of stories by women who work as writers, teachers, deans, & storytellers.

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Categories: General, Poetry

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15 replies

  1. Sharon, this invites my spirit to dance. Thank you for sharing it. It also reminds me of Meister Eckhart’s (late 1200-early 1300) image of the Creator as a woman continually giving birth, and loving creation.

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    • How wonderful that this invites you sprit to dance. The rhythm speaks so definitely to my spirit, too.

      And though I know much of Meister Eckhart’s work–though certainly not all of it–I am sooooo pleased to learn that he conceived of creation as a woman who gives birth continually. Such a beautiful image!

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  2. A magnificent poem – thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • First, thanks for your thought-filled posts on this sight & for appreciating the poem.

      I’ve been interested in the nexus between the spoken & the written word for a long time. So, my family and I eventually traveled to the SW to meet with Sunny Dooley, a storyteller whose first language was spoken—Navajo—and which had become written only somewhat recently. She, my family, and I have since become good friends.

      I said all of that to say that I had not been to the SW for about 12 years & fell in love with it again. (The first time Sunny came to NY State, it snowed big time!)

      Anyway, your posts on this site have touched many aspects of my life. (For most of my life,I’ve been interested in ways that science & religion affect each other.)

      Too much has been destroyed in the name of both & since they’re both here to stay for a while. . .

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks, Sharon, for sharing your work on feminist interpretations of early Taoism. And I love this thought: “knowing the dance, as the trees know the breeze, the One freely laughs warm whispers of joy.”

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  4. Beautiful poem. It made me dance

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  5. This is wonderful Sharon, I am so glad you are working on this book again.

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    • I’ve been working on & off on Mushente for a bit now. But most of my time is taken up with Making Choices: Adapted and Original Tales by Women Storytellers, the book I’m both editing & contributing stories to. We have 17 stories & 7 teller/writers. It’s a lot of work!

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  6. As always, your writing comes from an inexhaustible well of profound beauy. So happy and proud am I to call you sister!

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    • I’m happy & proud to call you sister, too! You’re a wonderful woman, Carol. I love you, and am forever pleased that we share the same genes–not jeans:)

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  7. Thank you! What lovely rythym!

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  8. Sharon, I cannot stop smiling. I saw your email and didn’t get to it till this Monday afternoon, but I’m overjoyed!
    My favorite image says so much about birthing and the BIG emotional dance it will be as well as the standing back to watch and savor…… Thank you! Shared with great delight on FB!

    the child stands alone
    But knowing the dance
    as the trees know the breeze
    the One freely laughs
    warm whispers of joy
    With sweet swaying sounds
    and tears staining her face

    Like

    • Oh, Marni, how happy it makes me to hear that this poem could bring so much joy to you. ALL nondestructive creating is a dance, isn’t it?

      I’m also very glad that you felt moved to share on FB. The more the merrier, to use an old nugget.

      My personal favorite image in the poem is that the beginning begins with laughter!

      Like

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