It’s May, which means it’s time to celebrate (among other things) loyalty, Star Wars, nurses, Sally Ride, the end of the Middle Ages, and, of course, Mom.
To that latter end, I’ve put myself to the task of reading and commenting on the poems featured in 2014’s A Mother Here Contest. You can read more about the contest via that link, but here’s how I see my project working: as an attempt (alongside and in conversation with the contest artworks) to “express the nearness of our Heavenly Mother” and to witness her presence in the cosmos (as coeval with Father) and in the intimate details of our lives.
As I mention, the project (which I’m hosting on FireinthePasture.org) will be two-fold:
1. I’ll post a recording of me reading one of the featured contest poems.
2. Alongside that reading, I’ll post a short audio comment (likely no more than four minutes long) in which I respond to the poem and explore what it says about the Mormon Divine Feminine.
My hope in taking this on is to expand the rich discourse that’s emerging re: Mother in Heaven and, in the process, to explore my own relationship with her. I’ve posted elsewhere about my experience talking about the Eternal Mother in a short sacrament meeting sermon. What I didn’t mention was how nervous I was when I stood to speak. I knew there was no silence officially mandated on the topic, but the cultural silence hung heavy in my ears and on my mind. As a result, just before I began speaking about her, my heart rapped hard on my sternum. When I introduced the idea that Mother stands beside Father as they carry out the work of eternity, though, I felt her presence and peace in a way I’ve never felt them before.
I’ve sensed that again as I’ve spent time the past week or so with the contest poems.
So: here goes—my first reading/commentary combo. A caveat, though: since May has 31 days and the contest only features 30 poems, what to do with the extra day? Rather than cut the month short, I found another poem to highlight: Emma Lou Thayne’s “Woman of Another World, I Am with You.” I think it provides a fruitful beginning to this month-long engagement with the “A Mother Here” poems.
Emma Lou Thayne’s “Woman of Another World, I Am with You”
Post 1/31 in my A Mother Here reading series. (I’m four days into the project now. Check out all posts in the series via the link embedded in the previous sentence.)