Saturday, December 15, 2007

An unanswered prayer: Liberation from theology

This is an old poem that I've completely re-written. I don't mean it to sound like an attack on the Catholicism to which I was raised. I know the Church's rites and symbols still hold much truth and power for the faithful, and there's a definite need for the spiritual and sacred in all our lives.

The poem is simply about a personal revelation — a moment of self-awareness when we cast off those ideas that have lost resonance. It's a contemplation of that liberating moment when we let the weight of outdated philosophies fall away to reveal new personal possibilities.

Note: The image at right by Infrogmation is titled "Madonna of the Lower 9th Ward." Click here to see the original version.

Hail Mary
by Francis Scudellari

A silence, blue robed dream
Long absent, I approach
Sadness, glaring white, veiled
In twisted flight, beckons

Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with thee blessed …

Not myself, clouded air,
Footfalls carry me up
Steps thick with time, breath-worn,
Echoed words long forgotten

Are thou among women
Blessed, is the fruit of …

Crumbled brick, locked door lies
Beneath stone figured kneel
Forbidding, rock goddess
Unchanged, unmoved, empty

Thy womb, Jesus, holy
Mary, mother of God …

Prayers falling, failing
Guardian of portals
Once passable, no more
Tears shed from icon's eyes

Pray for this sinner now
At the hour of his death

Free of promise, broken
Hallowed hopes, turned hollow
Symbol of lost causes,
Shade-lifted, soul less clay


GrEaT sAtAn'S gIrLfRiEnD said...

"...a moment of self-awareness when we cast off those ideas that have lost resonance..."

Reckon this (for you personally) is because you were raised up in it - as opposed to making a choice?
And what about this line here?

"Forbidding, rock goddess
Unchanged, unmoved, empty..."

Does this mean that spiritual self awareness must come from within? Sans being forced upon?

Very thought provoking - especially for anyone who as we say down here in Hillbillyland - "...was raised up in it..."

Thank you for being brave enough to share this.

franscud said...

Thanks CoUrTnEy,

Finding the spiritual path that fits our ideals and our sense of the world, is definitely a major challenge. When you're raised into a religion, the beliefs are presented as obvious truths but then when you go out in the world you discover that reality is sometimes at odds with those interpretations.

Dave J. said...

I sometimes fear that my own atheist philosophies will inadvertently encourage my daughter to pursue a more theistic path, just as I was raised in Christianity, and found it to be counter-intuitive to my existence.

franscud said...

Hi Dave,

My guess is she'll find the best spiritual path for her, and be very thankful that you taught her to be skeptical about what she believes. Rather than a simple reaction against, it will probably be an informed exploration.

btw ... I'm right with you on your latest post about Christmas. I love the idea of it, but hate what it's become.

Anonymous said...

Great minds think alike. See my poem on "The Uneasy Supplicant" 9 November entitled "Doubt". Exact same incorporation of the Hail Mary prayer. Love your take on it Francis. It seems many Catholics have this struggle. Brought up on a faith and belief system that we question later in life. Well done.

franscud said...

Thanks JD,

I think we do have much alike in outlook, and there's definitely a large group of us lapsed Catholics out there. I still try to hold out hope that I'll discover some spiritual resonance out there.

HANNA said...

Hey Francesco!
It's a wonderful prayer!!!
ya ya!
I'm abduct this liric/to ravish/

franscud said...

Ciao hanna,

I'm happy you like it. I'd be interested to see you do your ravishing work on it ;).

Jennifer said...

Hi Francis... WOW!

Very nice.

I too have had the experience of releasing belief. It was one of the most difficult of all my life transitions but the more I imbraced my personal truth the more peace enveloped my soul.

Thank you for sharing this Francis...



franscud said...

Hi Jen,

Thanks. I think that sometimes the most challenging decisions can also be the most rewarding.

HANNA said...

Un silenzio,
di tunica celeste meraviglia
assente da tanto, m'approssimo
mesto, l'abbaglio bianco cela
illusorio gesto di richiamo
l'ave maria piena di grazia,
il signore è con thee

non sono in me, di vista appannata
mi trascinano qui miei passi
l'orme intrise con tempo,
speso per alitare versi
echo di parole dimentiche da tanto
sei thou benedetta fra le donne,
e benedetto il frutto del...

sbriciolato il mattone,
blocca l'uscio di bugie
il piedistallo impedisce
genuflessione alla statua
di dea-roccia immutata
tuo seno Gesù,Santa
Maria, madre di Dio...

fallita la preghiera per mancanza
di guardiano dell'entro,
passato una volta, null'altro
che lacrime versate dagli occhi d'icona
prega per noi peccatori adesso
e nell'ora della nostra morte...

esente da promessa, grido
speranzoso spezzato, ritorna falso
il simbolo delle cause perse
spirito sollevato, anima priva di corpo "..
questa è la traduzione, ci ho messo 30 min per tradurre e 3 giorni per intuire i tuoi intenti e il tuo senso,
non so se sono riuscita ad indovinarti..
tanti auguri ,Happy Hollidays

franscud said...

Ciao Hanna,

It's a beautiful translation ... mi piace molto. Mille grazie! I think you captured the essence of the poem perfectly.

Three days to figure me out isn't so bad ... it's taken me over 40 years and I'm still working on it :).

Baci e un abbraccio forte. Tanti auguri.

HANNA said...

leggere e capire è mooooooolto più difficile che non scrivere...

franscud said...

Hanna ... you amaze me with your abilities to read, understand and write. I appreciate you immensely.

HANNA said...

ho postato il poema tradotto e revisionato ora..
grazie e:
merry ho ho !

franscud said...

Ok, I'm going to look at it now. I will link to it later today.

Buon Natale! I hope it's warmer in Italy than it is here in Chicago.

HANNA said...

Chicagoland-ese from
Windy City..
prossimamente aggiungo al post le tue "credenziali", cioè breve descrizione di Te...
ti dispiace?

franscud said...

Hanna, nothing you do would displease me :). I'd be happy to share whatever information you need.

HANNA said...

" locked door lies
Beneath stone figured kneel"
Francis, non riesco a capire il senso...ho tradotto male...
mi dici cosa hai pensato al momento?

franscud said...


I'll try to explain it, but I'm not sure how clear I can be.

The word "lies" is meant to have a double meaning ... both falsehood and the physical location of the door beneath the figure. What I was thinking of was a contradiction. An icon that blocks our access to truth and therefore becomes a lie. By denying us entry to her understanding she forces us to find new paths in order to reach enlightenment, making her own truth irrelevant.