I Earned the Right to Be/Elegy-6

27 February 2023

I earned the right to be.

In my Method Writing class with Jules Swales [www.julesswales.com], fellow writer and friend Maria Iliffe-Wood and I have been studying the Duino Elegies by Rainer Maria Rilke. This piece, “I Earned My Right to Be” is my take on the Sixth Elegy.

If you love writing and want to release the fullness of your inner writer, Method Writing with Jules is worth a look. A participant on one of my Masterclasses said, “Linda, your writing has evolved a lot.” She is right! Method Writing is the ticket to a deeper voice and rich tools for fuller self-expression.

As I’ve stepped more into my power as a writer, I’ve shown up more self-expressed in my life. I look forward to hearing the creative genius moving through the writers in my class. It’s the highlight of my week.

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I Earned the Right to Be

Withered, parched fruit, life’s last quartile.
Aches and pains assault unconscious slumber.
Swarthy marauders hack muscle and sinew,
eviscerate organs fragile, frayed with age.

Breasts surrendered to gravity, child long past fed.
Eyes dimmed; impressionism paints the world.
Parts missing, parts titanium,
every day a new cripple welcomed to the asylum.

I long, oh how I long, to curl into a slatted coral rocking chair
wave to palms that sway against cloudless skies,
rise to the erotica of the sun’s fiery kiss on spotted skin,
inflate lungs with desert breezes, the breath of God.

Nothing to do. Nothing to think. Nothing but relax.
Wait for death’s scoop into heaven’s magic,
the best, most free, most silent, most pregnant
years of a life brimmed with work and responsibility.

My fate is to be a fig, fruit that skipped the flower.
Flower of playfulness. Draught of rest.
Banquets of tropical holidays. Flower of meditation.
Sips of angel nectar. The lightness of being. Beauty’s flower.

A peace rose. White at heart, amity, and death.
Fringed yellow, hope and joy.
Tinged blush, innocent passion.
Urgent with life, trembling, sheer joy in bloom.

A peace rose. No reason but to exist
in showy beauty to delight passers-by
with noncontingent fragrance and loveliness.
Symbol of Truth, being in shadow and light.

A child stood under the kitchen window.
Drank the elixir of mother’s prize peace roses
unaware that the imprint of loveliness on optic nerves
reflected from the heart, the essence.

I earned the right to be.

Awards. Degrees. Jobs. Motherhood. Helping. Writing.
That, too, writing as if life depended on self-expression.
Loving it all. And, oh, alongside the pace, this desire
To lay it all down in a bed of peace, rose of Being.

Too late, I wonder, is there another way to do life.

To tip the balance, weight the scale toward rest
and still fund this precious human existence.
Fund the right to stop, go slow, savor.

Another way to earn the right to be.

Jesus preferred Mary to Martha,
the sylph at his feet to the maid in the kitchen.
Loved the lilies of the field who toiled nor spun
arrayed in glory. I missed the point.

Soft fruit, thin skin, a fig must earn its keep
The cost of legitimacy a dogged pace
a metronome of driven pressure,
seeded in separation.

Costumed in worry, the prize was spoiled.
The once and precious life, spent in pursuit
of an Oscar for perfect spiritual theater.
No recording. An audience of one.

Exhausted, I am exhausted.
Too many musts, too much order,
Too many bees buzzing around compost
Nectar of helping funded with urgent despair.

I see no answer, no respite.
Rest is punctuation, not clause, lower case, not upper.
Plodding, a seventieth-year fruit, fig,
Dreams of alchemy, a peace rose.

Copyright 2023: Linda Sandel Pettit, Ed.D.
See my writing programs for women.Yearning
See Elegy #1

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