Eucharist at Menopause: The Broken Bowl

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven . . . . before the evil days come when you will say, ‘I have no pleasure in them’; before the sun and the moon and stars are darkened, and the clouds return after the rain, the grasshopper drags itself along, the grinders cease because they are few, and the lookers through windows are dimmed; then one rises up at the voice of a bird, the golden bowl breaks, and all the daughters of song are brought low” (from Eccles. 3 & 12).

Does any death mean all of death?
Not alone the body must come to sweetness
And drop
From the tree of life,
But the spirit must ripen too.
Each spirit body, one in being, grown to rondure,
Adds to September’s brimful air
Its own self-telling scent,
Like apricot among the almonds–
Or down at a stream the mountain laurel’s mint suffusion
Among the sugar pines.

When is it time to die again
With the crucified one,
When the time to rise with him
And sing of Jerusalem?
The cup I have drunk,
Was it not the cup of his blood?
I ate unleavened bread,
Walked the scorpion way through deserts.
May I not sing the dying body,
Before the evil days come
And the golden bowl breaks?

The daughters of song fall silent then,
Dispersing into clouds of witnesses
That come again after the rain. [no stanza]
You floaters, onlookers from the valospheric ether,
You watchers and you holy ones, dancing
Relaying at jumped up voltage the intercessions
Begged by beasts of bone and blood,
Will I join you,
Flesh unready, songs unsung?