Yes, I have fallen behind. Way behind. I am giving you this morning’s meditation because . . . it’s here and I’m here. Then when I have time, I will fill in some of the missing days. I did keep up in my notebook. Somehow I stopped before putting it on the blog. It all just got too delicate for public view. Now I feel differently. Don’t know why.
Today’s poem follows.
#533, c. 1862
One Crucifixion is recorded — only —
How many be
Is not affirmed of Mathematics —
Or History —
One Calvary — exhibited to Stranger —
As many be
As persons — or Peninsulas —
Is but a Province — in the Being’s Centre —
For Journey — or Crusade’s Achieving —
Too near —
Our Lord — indeed — made Compound Witness —
And yet —
There’s newer — nearer Crucifixion
Than That —
There she goes. Emily takes a flying leap off the cliff of heresy. She tells us and her 19th century imaginary audience that Christ and the crucifixion are a metaphor. Not the literal truth. Or at least not the one and only literal truth. But a story that exists in the personal self in each of us.
We die to ourselves again and again. We suffer, die and are buried beneath the weight of something. On the third day . . . something happens. We hope. The point of the story, however, is that one does not know, or rather cannot know at the moment of “death” —whether a psychic death or ego death—that any part of us may live beyond the death.
Whatever it is that dies within, you have to undergo the passage without the comfort of knowing how the story ends. Otherwise you miss the benefit of the story.
And she’s right. It is too near, too excruciating, to speak of more than once. That one story will have to do. The rest of us will have to take it as our template and learn from it. The metaphor stands in for our experience. It is, in that sense, a sacrifice that gives life. The story of the sacrifice is what makes the sacrifice meaningful.
Emily, how many times did you dangle over the chasm of nothingness? Not knowing. Falling through the dark into infinite empty space. How many times did your poor self undergo such a “death” before you retreated into the upper rooms of your father’s house, and your paisley shawl, and your gingerbread? Or maybe you never stopped falling. And writing.