Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "Good Graces"

This poem came out of the November 5, 2013 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by prompts from technoshaman and poeticknowledge.  It has been sponsored by technoshaman.  It also fills the "grace" square in my 10-6-13 card for the Origfic Bingo fest.  This poem belongs to the Schrodinger's Heroes project.

Good Graces

It's not something they do every meal,
because they don't always eat together
and worlds could need saving at any moment,
but there are times when circumstances call for it.

Chris is the one who starts it,
because he was raised to be a God-fearing man
and he's the one who proposed the idea saying grace.
He folds his big hands together
as he has done every Thanksgiving,
then recites in solemn tone,
"Thank You, God
for the food we are about to eat,
for those who are here
to share these blessings ..."

Ash reaches out to cut the loaf
of blue cornbread into pieces
as she delivers a Navajo prayer,
"Before me peaceful
Behind me peaceful
Under me peaceful
Over me peaceful
Around me peaceful."

It is Quinn's turn next,
but he can't speak,
his throat closed by private grief.
He leans against Ash, trembling,
and she wraps her strong arm
around his shoulders.
They know this has not always
been a happy day for him.

Pat picks up the thread
taking his cue from Quinn's heartache,
speaking what they all feel
as he gives thanks,
"For each new morning with its light,
for rest and shelter of the night,
for health and food,
for love and friends,
for everything
thy goodness sends."

Morgan opens up the jar
of macadamia nut honey
that belongs to his family tradition
and goes so well with cornbread.
"This food is the gift of the whole universe --
the earth, the sky, and much hard work.
May we live in a way that
makes us worthy to receive it.
May we transform our unskillful states
of mind, especially our greed.
May we take only foods that
nourish us and prevent illness.
We accept this food so that
we may realize the path of practice.
Hau’oli La Ho’omakika’i,
Happy Thanksgiving!" he says.

Bailey's eyes twinkle with mischief
as he declares, "I'm reading for Schrodinger,
an Egyptian prayer to the cat goddess:
Mau Bast! Mau Bast!
A Basti, per em setat,
erta-na chu em asui
neter sentra semu hena net'emmit,
hetep ab em asui tau heqt."

Underneath the table,
they can all hear the soft rowr, rowr
of Schrodinger enjoying the giblets.

Alex addresses herself
to the nature of life and its bounty with,
"We give thanks for the plants and animals
who have given themselves
so that we can enjoy this meal together.
We also give thanks for our friends and family
who have traveled here today.
May this meal bring us strength and health."

Kay, like Chris,
has a quiet abiding faith
despite all that life has thrown at her.
In a voice as rich as coffee she says,
"Our Father in Heaven,
we give thanks for the pleasure
of gathering together for this occasion ..."

Tim twines his tentilla
into an agile wreath,
the surface turning black
as the silence of space.
Slowly sparks of color
begin to appear,
the wink and shine of life
dancing across his skin
as the chromatophores open.
At last the color turns to light
as the iridophores take over
and the tentilla glisten silver,
gilded with the candlelight.

The prayer is no less expressive
for all it is silent instead of spoken.

"Amen," Quinn says hoarsely,
and then everyone begins
to fill their plates with the bounty.

* * *


You can read my earlier post about the possible religious affiliation of characters in Schrodinger's Heroes.

Chris delivers a Christian prayer for Thanksgiving.

Ash shares a Navajo prayer.

Pat's prayer is also Christian, although more subtle than the others.

Morgan gives a Buddhist prayer and a Hawai'ian holiday greeting.  Notice that this is male!Morgan.  As explained in the episode "A Door in the Wind" (dated early September), female!Morgan died in a car accident.  Macadamia nut honey is a Hawai'ian export.

Speaking for Schrodinger, Bailey recites the Ntr Sentra  poem, which means in English:

Hail Bast! Hail Bast!
Hail Bast, coming forth from the secret place,
may there be given to me splendor in the place
of incense (cannabis smoke), herbs, and love-joys,
peace of heart in the place of bread and beer

Alex chooses a secular blessing.

Kay shares "We Give Thanks," another Christian prayer.

Tim delivers a silent, alien prayer.  Tentilla are tiny, sensitive tentacles.  Chromatophores are color-changing cells, such as an octopus has.

Tags: community, cyberfunded creativity, family skills, fishbowl, holiday, poem, poetry, reading, science fiction, weblit, writing

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