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a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society

Elizabeth Cunningham

Elizabeth Cunningham
…only the light remains
When the tide turns, between one breath and another
what gathers in this empty place where power rests?
My life pauses here unknown to itself and me.
The one I believed in is called the way. Is he
a deer thicket, a swarm of bees, my bravery
as I prepare for undress rehearsal of death?
Whoever you are do not put us to the test
we are bound to fail, deliver us from the hook
the one you baited and dangled, the one we took.
Learn to angle yourself to the wind, to the wave,
you are your own vessel, you wield the paddle’s blade
a slight turn and struggle yields to the flow of grace.
Don’t you know monarchs can fly over continents
antennae mapping the mother wind, feet sensing
nectar miles below, telling them when to let go?
Sometimes you don’t see the bird, only the shadow,
winged darkness sweeping over the ground or your face,
you look up, it’s too late, only the light remains.
what I believe today
that I don’t need to believe, not consistently
god can move in and out of me like breath
inside or beyond I don’t have to choose
and it is all right to blame god even if such
a blameworthy being does not exist if it means
an end to hatred of myself and my own kind.
I feel sorry for us all sometimes, the wicked,
the brilliant, the blind, the kind. Who gave us
such tricky minds and thumbs, such a need
to say no or yes? We murder and make beauty
helplessly, deliberately. Someone please love us,
hold us at the end of time and tell us it’s all right.
Elizabeth Cunningham is best known as the author of The Maeve Chronicles, a series of award-winning novels featuring a feisty Celtic Magdalen who is no one’s disciple. A fellow emeritus of The Black Earth Institute, she lives in the Shawangunk Mountains in New York State. For more:


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