Saturday, June 14, 2008

Women's Work

I walk near a group of women
from a graduate class of which I
am of the oldest part.
One class assignment is
a discourse based in
stringing beads.

These women, five or six,
mostly younger,
the oldest perhaps thirty, sit
on marble steps leading to an old
Distinguished building.
Columns stand adjacent to its entry.
As they string their beads,
One of the women, holding
beads and twine in her
spread skirt, looks up and good-
naturedly calls my name.

Thinking her greeting an invitation,
I walk up the stairs and
attempt conversation.
Yet, in their midst I feel
something primal, something timeless:
women stringing beads, making garments,
mending, weaving baskets, grinding maze,
working together.

And together, they
converse, they laugh,
they sit quietly while
I feel alien.
It’s not a man’s environment.

Gently, I ease from their midst as
these women go on with
their sacred communal work—
Their ancient women’s ritual.

Looking back now I surmise:
they did not comprehend
their shared depth of being as they sat
so peaceful, so self-possessed. Yet,
as did mine, their spirits knew.

1 comment:

Katie said...

I had the female's equivalent experience about 23 yrs ago when I stepped into a group of men standing around a barbeque. They were all my relatives, but it was clear that I had entered a sacred space... and I wasn't a part of it. I left. It blew my mind at the time.