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July 9, 2008


Iona: Images and Reflections

An excerpt from the book: When Did We Make You Mechanical?

Last week I knelt
and received you,
a perfect
flat disc, the surface, neatly
embossed
with what passes,
week by week,
for a cleaned-up cross.

This week someone
good took a knife
and cut you into perfect
cubes of
manufactured bread.
I held out my hands
and square, tidy
and tasteless
it was you I received.

On an island I know
they stir you and scrape you
and knead you, and raise you,
and beat you
and bake you and then
in a boat, with friends,
they break you.

When did we make you mechanical?
And each of us pulls
at your flesh, pulls
with our bare
begging hands.
For you never come to us
as perfect circle,
or perfect cube.
You are not
a cardboard cut-out
or a mechanical tube,
tamed into
distilling life
on demand.

The gull descending
breaks the air.
With a wing beat
crumble me too.
Alison Swinfen

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Kate Morningstar permalink
    July 10, 2008 12:03 am

    Oh, Eileen! Thank you. I attend two different Anglican churches on a regular basis. At one, we get perfect wafers. At the other, they use pita that’s been in the freezer too long, so it crumbles, and you get a tiny little bit, smaller than a dime. How can these feed us? Provide ecstasy?

    I want the winds of Pentecost to blow through me and leave me clean — I want the wildness of God. And I get wafers. I couldn’t have said what was wrong, but Alison Swinfen did it for me. Thanks, and blessings to you.

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