Note: Celia’s post follows poem.
From Ann Glover O’Dell’s Midwifing the Soul:
Winding through the branches of my spirit
whispering glimpses of mortality
wandering among the conscious complex
winnowing former dogma like frail facts
down into recesses of my essence
drifting through unbridled memory
dauntingly presumptuous in its power
dares this new disturbing premonition
halting nowhere near the seat of power
having so destroyed that weaker vessel
hurrying to reach its destination
hovering within the fecund chamber
coming round the shaping walls of truth
curving in and out of questions forming
casting out decisions long since crumbled
climbing vine-like through the hallowed halls
tethering to no anointed altar
targeting no restrictive domicile
templing within no single sacred cloister
the hot bright breath of God appears.
From Celia’s Images in a Reflecting Pool:
I think we plan our lives before we are born. If so, given that I have always spent much time in thinking about what I should do next, I’m sure I planned carefully on the other side.
I once had an intuition that my growing-up years went just as intended. I wanted to emphasize working hard on academic pursuits and developing the impetus to achieve. Now when I question the advisability of all that, surely some balancing act is taking place.
We are our own worst enemy. We do not have to do all things, even if all of these things are good. Sometimes I entrap myself over a perceived “good goal” by taking steps to move toward it—knowing all the while that living out the goal will be painful.
Achieving at my maximal level has long been a goal. I don’t like to be defeated by anything, to drop out of the race without trying sufficiently. An old “Father Knows Best” television program drove the point home to me while still very young (and aren’t we quite impressionable when young?).
I sense I could do library administration, albeit not without struggle. Do I want to be one who, as Milton says, “slinks out of the race, where that immortal garland is to be run for, not without dust and heat”? Yet Milton’s famous passage also suggests that one would know good “by” evil, by the contrast.
This I don’t believe is necessary. Maybe now is one time that my doubts should be respected, because the ultimate goal, being ego-related, is questionable (as well as tangential to what I really want to do). It’s a replay of a “have it all” 1980s motif—surely a way of life most of us are coming to repudiate.