First Prize: 2004 Utmost Christian Poetry Contest
About this Christian Poet:
I write in response to questions that bully my Faith for answers. It is the only way I know to quiet them. This piece grew from the following: “If the avenue to Grace and Peace is forgiveness, isn’t it a wisdom-poor society that negates the need for it?"
I have chased my Faith in God, found it in pieces in my community, in the forests, along the lakes and riverbanks of Northern Saskatchewan. I have observed its validation in my mentors, in parenting and teaching. I have been blessed with family and friends and many fulfilled dreams.
All my life I have been driven by responsibility and an intensity that has kept me sleeping with my clothes on, alert, listening for the signs of earthquakes (of which I know nothing), planning escapes from tidal waves and categorizing my emergency supplies. I have worn my hikers through darkness into many dawns, always prepared…for what? I don’t know. If flesh and blood do not inherit the kingdom probably hiking boots are not welcome either. At fifty plus, I am finally learning to recognize the quiet gift in each moment instead of being mesmerized by its sunburst of possibilities.
Among her many other achievements, Jan Wood was Utmost's International Christian Poet Laureate for 2008 and 2009.
In a Civilized Society an Adulteress Isn’t Stoned
She is taken inside the city gates
to a cavern of the hallowed
and fixed, legally and properly
under rubber-glove treatment
her fruit-stone is removed
—a pip, flesh and juice-slippery
that will never be rocked to sleep
its beginning and end
will not be engraved.
She is granted three wishes
—‘the’ pill or needle—a widened license to practice
—a crypt for her label and shame
rejection makes its gravel bed
in a pelvic nest below her heart
stone-faced she turns from newborn cry
broken by lovers ‘not-interested’
—skipped gemstones leave bare fingers
and widening ripples on amniotic waters.
She is stonewalled by her sisters
with fruit in the melons of their belly
HIV and genetic warts not being table conversation
nor the trade she plies
with their bed-rocked spouses
mineral deposits pour down her legs
in a monthly cycle of no sons
her womb a marketplace
of peril and liquidation.
sorrow leaves through her crevices
molten lava erupts and scalds
she hardens merciless,
an igneous solid
her metamorphic meat
a cold marble slab
She is the granite weight
of a society
that prides itself on being
civilized; beyond the age of stoning.
Copyright ©2004 by Jan Wood