When their light has picked you out/ and their questions are asked, say to them:/ “I am not ashamed.” A sure horizon/ will come around you. The heron will begin/ his evening flight from the hilltop. – from Do not be ashamed – Wendell Berry
The second a phrase like “Do not be ashamed” comes across the table, the whole circle is changed. The air is electric. We know we’re in for something. It’s a challenge straight from the teeth of a poet: an imperative, an edge, a subversion. In quiet that follows, we wrote, we spoke, and consistently expressed the same understanding: our greatest act of subversion and greatest gift to one another is to become vulnerable.
We were afraid, sure. That’s a given. The circle is quiet and people spoke quietly, especially at first. The pauses between words were long. Some women opted not to share their work. Some women read quickly or slowly or without expression or with so much, it was almost a performance. In each voice was an imbedded fear. But that means within each written piece, there was bravery. Continue reading