Hell to Pay

Hell to Pay
(November 23, 2015: for Mary Oliver)
I met a woman today who told me she was going to Hell.
Because she was gay.
Some bible-loving Christian told her so.
Into the fray.
Read your bible, find a good Christian man.
And also pray.
She would never see her beloved mother again.
Hell to pay.
Her sainted mother had died two years before.
Eternal Day.
No Heaven of course for her ungodly daughter.
Only clay.
I suspected she was already in hell.
Fearing to stay.
Salvation?: to be herself, holding to the truth of her heart.
And all crass ignorance at bay.
have we not driven our sisters and brothers to the edge of mental illness and beyond by our un-Christian bible-thumping?

A friend reminded me of the wondrously beautiful and marvellously insightful poem Prayer, it doesn’t have to be a blue iris, by the American poet Mary Oliver of Provincetown, Massachusetts. In her collection Thirst (2006), she grieves for the death of Mary Malone Cook, love of her life and partner of more than 40 years until Mary’s death in 2005.

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