Still croaky this morning, four days later.
Four days after the Wailing One showed up.

She doesn’t come very often.
Only a handful of times throughout my life.
But I recognize her when she appears.
Her voice moving through me
does not leave me unscathed.

She helped me have my babies.
She came towards the end of each labor
and stayed until I was holding a brand new person in my arms,
still connected to my body.
Her cry at those times was of all birthing women,
present and past,
sounding of whales, storms, wild dogs,
rhythmic as tides that increase in frequency and intensity as a hurricane approaches.

All the silence of earth’s seedlings
pushing up through resistant soil
were contained in the pauses between her voicings.
She did not leave me
until her wildness had fully emanated from my mouth and body and skin
and the babies were born, delivered earthside,
no longer mysteries.

I have not seen her for a long time,
but she showed back up a few days ago
to be with me in my grief.

I could feel her rise up from the desert floor,
her long hair swinging,
arms winding sinuously against the sunset sky,
head arched back, mouth open —
a mama wolf keening, howling at the moon,
a lost cub bewailing her aloneness.
In her voice was anguish and sadness,
high winds and twisting cyclones,
with a power and volume that has left me hoarse for days.

She stayed with me until the sharpness began to recede,
until the fire was contained,
until I could use my eyes to see again
and my mouth to speak.

She doesn’t come very often,
and I have never been overjoyed to see her,
but when she does show up,
she has important work to do.

She appears when tectonic plates are shifting,
when lava is flowing,
when change is brewing,
pressing outward from the depths of the earth.

She is summoned by the need for birthing.

As with all of the deepest spiritual teachers,
she opens doors to pain we did not know was there,
rooms of flames that must be walked through
for our pilgrimages to continue.
But she stays with us
and pours herself through us,
accompanying us in the fire,
conveying us forward with the power of her truth.
And once she has taught us what we need to know,
brought us through our embodied experience of pain,
we emerge,
still here,
dross consumed,
gold refined,
reborn, renewed.

I don’t want her.
You don’t want her.
But she will come,
and we will not remain unscathed.

Yet,
this truth endures:
it is when we rise
from our time as the Wailing One
that we are able
to go forth in strength
and change our world.

***

Interested in reading more of Lindy’s poetry? Click here to visit her blog. 

Lindy Thompson

Lindy Thompson is a lyricist and writer who has collaborated with Mark Miller on many pieces for choral and congregational singing. She lives in Franklin, TN where she and her family are members of Christ UMC. She blogs at lindythompson.net

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