Wednesday, April 9, 2014

"To See What the End Will Be..."

(In honor of Sr. Eva Regina Martin, SSF, 1939-2014)

I.
No
They told the first one
                                             and then
year after year another   no   until
the house was built  the clothes were
stitched   the old castaways  and the invisible
babies were fed  and soothed

and then
                   there were enough faces to form
a choir of hope   healing their own hearts   they
twisted scorn into praise
                                                and then
dispossessed into the wilderness
they planted  harvested  and shared among
the restless wandering spirits
a little light   a little music   and
little by little
                            the world found them
and then   they all said   yes

II.
                                              it was how
she walked up the path
                                             mother prayers
grandmother secrets    the dreams
of babies had been rolled up carefully
in remnants from the quilts    packed
into the satchel
                               she dragged along

III.
Teaching
                   touching   holding  more
tightly  the very ones most afraid
                                                               the world
became a festival of heroes   where not
even dreams could root

But when the lightning flashed that summer morning
And the corrupted sermon that had long silenced
The mother-wisdom and ways of her house
came hurtling back the air
                                                  she screamed
her loss
                 another old woman
                                                       (placed there
I know   by the one who refused English to ever
touch her  teeth)
                                 said, “But you learned it all
any way you could"

IV.
The satchel

once again
                     went away
                                            and came back
overflowing for our feast

Was she conjure woman?
                                                   Yes.
No one
                knew how  deep her eyes
could see

the    yes   that was merely static
in the streets
                          spoke loudly in
iron  stone  remnants  beads  and   feathers
and whispers never failed to satisfy

and now it is our   no   that we know

fallen to the floor
                                 we demanded the miracle
that exhausted her
                                      at the last

And  no   was prayed and sung and caressed
in the vigil of those weeping before the tomb
was readied

Until

the first one
flung the light
and dissolved the shadowed room
                                                      reaching
her hand    she said    now
and the gentle sister of us all

said

yes

yes


9 April 2014

Sr. Mary Eva Regina Martin, SSF.Born in Grand Coteau, Louisiana, in 1939.  Entered the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family on September 8, 1959, professed First Vows on August 15, 1962, and Perpetual Vows August 15, 1967. Masters in Black Theology from Xavier University. Doctorate in African American Studies from Temple University (1994).  Educator and Administrator of Catholic schools in Louisiana and Texas. Curator, Archivist, Consultant.  Sr. Eva Regina was elected to leadership in her Community and served as a General Councilor, Vicar General, and succumbed to death, April 7, 2014, while presiding in office as Congregational Leader.