( In the following guest post, writer Debra El-Ramey** graces us with her beautiful poetry.** Show her some love and leave a comment!)
Summers, Aunt Kathleen traveled south
to Bible Belt Land with Uncle Jim in effort
to save our souls from the burning hell
we born-again Baptists believed in.
Mother said the couple had once been
kissing cousins, married in the Christian
faith. A shame, she said – a crying shame
what they became: Jehovah’s Witnesses
of all things. Going door to door. Refusing
war, politics, blood transfusions, and even
Christmas. Icons, idols, images, the Easter
bunny, and hunts for colored eggs on the
bright green grass of a church lawn.
At sixteen, the age of rebellion, I visit
a Kingdom Hall – much to my mother’s
chagrin – And sit with the chosen at a
Passover celebration. Refrain from tasting
the wine when it’s passed around, they warn.
In silence I wait out eternity while the chalice,
forbidden as sin, goes from hand to hand,
unsipped as poison. Here I listen
to the sound of a funeral dirge in the
background and miss my mother, and even
the tasteless Styrofoam wafer they serve to
church members with the thimbleful
of Welch’s that no more quenches our
thirst than the sourball melting on my
tongue along with the sermon.
(“Passover” was first published in The Lyricist)
From Faith to Faith
Grandmother Mittie eased away in her sleep
one dreamful night, slipped on out as quick
as a fish evading the capture, escaping the
hook. By morning, Grandfather awakened
to sudden shock. There was nothing wrong
with the woman. It just happened as fast
as the rapture. I wonder where she spends
her timeless days. With those Sunday
morning Methodists whom she joined to
sing His praise? Or does she speak in
tongues with those wild ones and ride on
the wings of the snow-white dove as she
did on Sunday evenings? Do the Baptists
still wash her feet at the midweek meetings,
then sit with their “Swords” upon their laps?
Do the young Mormon men in white
shirts and black ties who came to her
door to proselytize and gather in another
soul at harvest time now steer their bikes
down streets of gold?
Debra El-Ramey’s work has appeared in numerous publications across the U.S. and Canada. She recorded a collection of songs (“Glowing in the Dark”), completed a novel (Broken Angels), and is currently in the final stages of a manuscript about her life-learning adventures.
Visit her blog:
Pure and Simple
© Sweepy Jean and Sweepy Jean Explores the (Webby) World, 2011