Swallowtail on thistle



You say you’re waiting for permission.

You say you’re waiting for direct orders from an irrefutable voice.

A voice from Heaven:                                                                                                         This is my daughter, in whom I am well pleased.                                                                     Listen to her.

An ancient ritual, laden with pomp and circumstance-                                                   Proper form and order.

An ordination with weighty words and codified gestures,                                           Performed by men wearing heavy gowns and rings of gold,                                             Who seal decrees with wax.

You on your knees                                                                                                               On the floor of a long narrow dusty hall                                                                            Ruled by straight lines.


My love, that’s not how this works.

My ordination comes through rock and stars.

This holiness is swimming in the mighty river welling up in you that will not be dammed.

This holiness strips your old tough too-small skin from your body with gentle-edged hands you’ve forgotten you had.

This holiness is living in new thin porous skin permeable to excruciating joy.

I consecrated you with blood and salt water at your birth.                                                      I bestow upon you daily ordinations.                                                                                        I tell you of your belonging every moment.

Hear my voice in the pine wind, songs of birds and frogs, and laughter.                             Feel my hand as butterflies and bees, sun on skin, feet in cold river.                               See me in seasons’ spiral, cycles of day and night, everyday dying and rising.

Your sweat and tears taste like ocean.

You know my wordless urge and tug in a baby’s cry and the need of a friend.Or a stranger.


Here’s your permission:                                                                                               Daughter, you are here.

You’re flesh of my flesh and                                                                                              bone of my bone.                                                                                                           Breath of my breath.                                                                                                         Blood of my blood.

I feed your body with my body.

Anoint yourself with oil and honey.

Stand up, and walk.

Do your work.

12 thoughts on “Ordination

  1. Wow! I hope you got my email, in response to receiving your poem the first time. It is powerful! Thanks for sharing it. Happy birthday!

  2. These words, these lines, touches me to the core as well. Having spent years waiting for “permission” to be a priest, I was denied it. Too hard and painful a story to tell but these words, Barb, they sink deep into my spirit and help me to mourn what was not but awakens me to what can be…thank you ever so much.

  3. Barb,
    Your poem is so powerful, just beautiful. It calls out to read it over and over to sink into your very bones. Thank you

  4. Wonderful Barb. I know it’s personal and that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t have wide readership. It should.

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