Good Friday always brings mixed feeling to me. For years I sang in the choir before I left the church and before that I lit the candles for each of the “7 Last Words of Christ” because our church always did Dubois’s famous piece.
It was one of the 2 times in the holy year I ever felt the presence of magic/Holiness/spirit in church. The other was Christmas Eve.
The “7 Last words” is an amazing piece of music and with a huge pipe organ doing the earthquake it feels darn near real here in California. When we little the choir babies got recruited to light the candles in the front of the church. My brother did it a few years with a friend. My part was to shove Cam and Scott to do it at the right time or there was a whispered chorus of “Now? Now? Now?” if I didn’t. So I sat with the score and matches for the huge lighter and shoved at the right times.
It was also the site of my last spectacular public faint. I used to faint at the beginning of any illness that caused a fever. I fainted before I got the measles or flu and most of other times it was at home. This time I wasn’t feeling that bad when we went but as the rehearsal practice and then the service went on I started feeling really sick. I was also standing dead center in the choir loft in full view of the entire congregation. When the earthquake part starts they used to turn the lights out and Charles the Organist would play in the dark. Well, this time, we finished that word and I passed out, BOOM! And the lights went out. So the congregation saw me go straight back and disappear backwards and then darkness.
I came to and decided I had to get out of the loft because I was going to start hurling really quickly. So I crawled down the pew behind the standing choir and shot into the choir room and decided the men’s room in the men’s robing room was as far as I could go. So I got sick and left a trail. And almost passed out again. Very shortly I heard the choir ladies calling my name they found me after following the trail. Ewww! They had been in the balcony and seen me go over like the statue falling over.
They managed to get me out of the men’s robing room and into the women’s just barely. Once I was done being sick I felt better but then we had to wait through the rest of the piece and then communion. It felt like forever. When the service was over I found out just how many people had seen because while I was waiting to go home I got mobbed by little old ladies who wanted to know if I was alright. Our church holds about 2500 people and it was full. If I had been after attention that was sure the way to do it.
Now I miss the magic and the music of the night but I don’t miss the rest of it at all. I’ll take a Samhain ritual any day.
But from these countless evils we have been set free, by the help of Him Who though He afflicts yet heals and restores, by our most tireless Prince, King and Lord, the Lord Robert. He, that his people and his heritage might be delivered out of the hands of our enemies, met toil and fatigue, hunger and peril, like another Macabaeus or Joshua and bore them cheerfully. Him, too, divine providence, his right of succession according to or laws and customs which we shall maintain to the death, and the due consent and assent of us all have made our Prince and King. To him, as to the man by whom salvation has been wrought unto our people, we are bound both by law and by his merits that our freedom may be still maintained, and by him, come to the King of England or the English, we should exert ourselves at once to drive him out as our enemy and a subverter of his own rights and ours, and make some other man who was well able to defend us our King; for, as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom —for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.
Declaration of Arboath 1320
Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
by Robert Louis Stevenson
I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head,
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.
The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow—
Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;
For he sometimes shoots up taller like an India-rubber ball,
And he sometimes gets so little that there’s none of him at all.
He hasn’t got a notion of how children ought to play,
And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.
He stays so close beside me, he’s a coward you can see;
I’d think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me!
One morning, very early, before the sun was up,
I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup;
But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant sleepy-head,
Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.
I think this is the first poem I remember hearing and it’s still my favourite.