The Way She Remembered It
While the king sitteth at his table,
My spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof.
Song of Songs 1:12-14
I don’t know what possessed me then. It was as if the moon
in Bethany, the alabaster moon, full moon, fell into my arms,
I being the one who was to take it to him.
How its clear white light burned through and through me then.
I wondered, were there really seven demons?
That was ‘once upon a time’
and he was later, later on and he was come to us and Lazarus
sat at table with him. Martha, chided by him for her carefulness,
served them as always.
I, being left alone, bethought me of the alabaster box
in Mother’s room: its pound of ointment, nard, spikenard, expensive
And so I brought it out, as if it were the moon,
into the dining-room and brake the box
before them and anointed him, his feet, road-worn.
Then with my hair I wiped them for I’d come
sudden, soon, with neither cloth nor clout upon my arm.
Judas Iscariot, there among them –
Almost I felt for him as he complained about my wastefulness.
Three hundred pence the poor, himself, would not again –
His poverty – his own, a poverty
of being in him –
was bare as bone or abacus set up within
himself, the meanest of men.
Then said Jesus, ‘Let her alone:
against the day of my burying hath she kept this.’
And with those words, with none
he held me there, as I had held the moon, held
me in being, the deepest being,
showing me myself
letting me come into my own
where, sudden, soon, I knew I’d always been.
I invent the word ditheridoo and sit down.
This is my secret garden where I can walk and talk to myself without a mobile phone.
We owe it to one another to approach without expectation.
Who can ever be alone?
Even the columbine, like a little corps de ballet waiting in the wing of
Early afternoon, is poised to open.
Later the risen moon, as if mistakenly, will come upon
The Garden of Love in the middenstead of my own.
APRIL 2022 Gillian Allnutt MONK
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