The Women’s Procession at the Christmas Eve Candlelight Service

TriciaKnollTricia Knoll is a Portand poet, retired from many years of communication work for the City of Portland. She has degrees in literature from Stanford University (BA) and Yale University (MAT). Her poetry and haiku appear in numerous journals and several anthologies. Her chapbook Urban Wild looks at human and wildlife interactions, mostly within the Portland city limits. Her forthcoming book, Ocean’s Laughter  (Aldrich Press, December 2015), combines lyric and eco-poetry in a book about beaches and life Manzanita, Oregon.


 

The minister intones Come, come whoever you are. Come as you are
           nimble who limp
           straight who are gay
           sad wearing glad rags
           damp with your tears
           scuffed boots, graying at roots
Bring your bunions, bursitis and bone spurs
warheads, dreads, hunger,
indifference, despair. Come

if you think you have little to share,
    the tide of our breath
    mingles your share in the air.

Our tribe of women don full-body capes
           the tall one, red velvet
           the short one, gray lamb’s wool
           the plump one, green corduroy wales
           a white-haired, deep purple with pockets
           one in gold, matching her guide dog
           and more choosing somber wraps for the cold
hugging bone, dropping their watches,
untieing their braids, chanting on entering

               barefoot come softly
               give to the light

naked as we brought in our babes, forward
in the blood of our mothers.

They file into pews, dropping their cloaks,
bare-breasted, full-bodied, witnesses
to love over sorrow, their hum of aum and of ah
for each their unnamed god ascends in beeswax
light, faint spirals of smoke of the smudge,
to blend in the chorus of green winter song,
a promise of birthing in honest air.
Previously published in Adanna Literary Journal Women & Spirituality Fall 2015

 

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