The idea in our culture of body solely as sculpture is wrong. Body is not marble. That is not its purpose. Its purpose is to protect, contain, support and fire the spirit and soul within it, to be a repository for memory, to fill us with feeling – that is the supreme psychic nourishment. It is to lift us and propel us, to fill us with feeling to prove that we exist, that we are here, to give us grounding, heft, weight. It is wrong to think of it as a place we leave in order to soar to the spirit. The body is the launcher of those experiences. Without body there would be no sensations of crossing thresholds, there would be no sense of lifting, no sense of height, weightlessness. All that comes from the body. The body is the rocket launcher. In its nose capsule, the soul looks out the window into the mysterious starry night and is dazzled.
― Clarissa Pinkola Estés, from Women Who Run With the Wolves
This body, since the day of my birth,
has been both a blessing and a curse.
Held, hugged, rocked, washed, smiled upon,
and cooed to, a receptacle of care.
From my chubby little toes, to my buddha belly,
to my silky, curly cornsilk hair.
From lying, hands flying, to rocking on my knees,
then toddling to outstretched arms;
To running through grass, near and under,
then climbing, trees, a vehicle to explore.
When the novelty of parental care waned,
my warm fuzzy nest became a cool island.
Wee me, sticking out like a sore thumb —
opportunity for unconscionable exploitation.
Wee me, a small vulnerability, swooped upon,
a beacon to unholy appetites. Feet held
concrete-encased, under water, in a now-bloody river,
denuded with a thousand bites.
Like Pegasus, the soul burst free, splashing, wet,
flying sunward, mind riding bareback.
Never again would the violated object be trusted
to protect anything again, especially itself.
Now an unfeeling doppelganger to serve the rider,
it keeps its mouth and its legs shut –
unless told to open by its mad queen.
The soul waits, patient.
image: “Trot,” by Allan Mardon
Grace is today’s host for dVerse’ Meeting the Bar. Grace says:
Writing Challenge: Write a poem about the body parts (e.g. eyes, hands, feet) as a metaphor and/or story. It doesn’t have to be about your body or family’s history (from the first person experience), if this makes it uncomforable for you. You can write about the body’s experience of someone else (from a third person narrative perspective). You create the mood – serious, or sad or sexy, or funny or filled with nostalgia.