contagion

contagiouscandles.jpg

last week, three people i hold dear (though i’ve only know them for a scant few weeks) wrote posts that opened doors in my heart that have been long closed. their conviction and courage, their honesty, their willingness to outright own vulnerability because silence is no longer an option is nothing short of inspiring. these women have enkindled conversations that are long overdue, conversations i hope will continue and spread and take on a life of their own – a full, rich life that will change the world.

though this poem was written by a man who wrote of political and social upheavals, it is the one that has kept me company the past several days, and it is the one that i am sending – in spite of the near-oppressive notion that i’ll get red ink comments from my english teachers noting my usual erroneous interpretation – as a salute to my three guests of honor, women i am proud to call friend . . .

bonnie of windshieldthinking.com

emily of pleasurenotes.com

julie of unabashedlyfemale.com

p.s. yes, i changed the two masculine pronouns to feminine, so sharpen your red pencils and deduct points at will.

Emerging

A woman says yes without knowing
how to decide even what the question is,
and is caught up, and then is carried along
and never again escapes from her own cocoon;
and that’s how we are, forever falling
into the deep well of other beings;
and one thread wraps itself around our necks,
another entwines a foot, and then it is impossible,
impossible to move except in the well –
nobody can rescue us from other people.

It seems as if we don’t know how to speak;
it seems as if there are words which escape,
which are missing, which have gone away and left us
to ourselves, tangled up in snares and threads.

And all at once, that’s it; we no longer know
what it’s all about, but we are deep inside it,
and now we will never see with the same eyes
as once we did when we were children playing.
Now these eyes are closed to us,
Now our hands emerge from different arms.

And therefore when you sleep, you are alone in your dreaming,
and running freely through the corridors
of one dream only, which belongs to you.
Oh never let them come to steal our dreams,
never let them entwine us in our bed.
Let us hold on to the shadows
to see if, from our own obscurity,
we emerge and grope along the walls,
lie in wait for the light, to capture it,
till, once and for all time,
it becomes our own, the sun of every day.

© Pablo Neruda

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42 Comments

  1. Amanda

    Oh, Jeanne. The Neruda. Today, your words and his are my blanket. Thank you.

    • wholly jeanne

      the neruda makes a fine blanket, doesn’t he? a damn fine blanket.

  2. Amanda

    Oh, Jeanne. The Neruda. Today, your words and his are my blanket. Thank you.

    • wholly jeanne

      the neruda makes a fine blanket, doesn’t he? a damn fine blanket.

  3. Alana

    What a gift this blogosphere is…and this poem…and you.

    • wholly jeanne

      thank you, alana. hope that earache is better today.

  4. Alana

    What a gift this blogosphere is…and this poem…and you.

    • wholly jeanne

      thank you, alana. hope that earache is better today.

  5. Julie

    Jeanne,

    Firstly, tears. You held me, yesterday, as I was feeling so sick after hitting that publish button. And, now you are celebrating women, not just us, but all women. We are bound by something beyond words. Women know way deep down. We connect there. We hold each other dear there.

    Secondly, thank you for this acknowledgment about the conversation. You are so right that ‘silence is no longer an option’.

    Thirdly, it is an honor to be in this conversation with you, Emma, Bonnie and all women.

    Where have you been all my life, dear?

    • wholly jeanne

      i celebrate you, julie. not just here. not just your work – i celebrate you. your conviction. your fierce determination. your willingness to write from that place of deep knowing that can be so tender when exposed to the light. your post made my heart hum quietly, steadily, continuously since reading it yesterday. thank you for writing it. thank you for publishing it. and thank you to the sweet, sweet spirits for arranging things so that our paths crossed. xo.

  6. Julie

    Jeanne,

    Firstly, tears. You held me, yesterday, as I was feeling so sick after hitting that publish button. And, now you are celebrating women, not just us, but all women. We are bound by something beyond words. Women know way deep down. We connect there. We hold each other dear there.

    Secondly, thank you for this acknowledgment about the conversation. You are so right that ‘silence is no longer an option’.

    Thirdly, it is an honor to be in this conversation with you, Emma, Bonnie and all women.

    Where have you been all my life, dear?

    • wholly jeanne

      i celebrate you, julie. not just here. not just your work – i celebrate you. your conviction. your fierce determination. your willingness to write from that place of deep knowing that can be so tender when exposed to the light. your post made my heart hum quietly, steadily, continuously since reading it yesterday. thank you for writing it. thank you for publishing it. and thank you to the sweet, sweet spirits for arranging things so that our paths crossed. xo.

  7. emma

    I’m in tears of wonder and gratitude that you have come into my life. I am honored to be part of this amazing sisterhood. The poem is stunning. And you have a palatial place in my heart. I hope someday to be able to do for you all you do for me. And until I can give you an in-person hug, this will have to do… xoxoxo -em

    • whollyjeanne

      emma, your posts usually touch something in me, open something up, gird me and guide me, but the post i refer to here, well, how do i count the ways? the event changed your life, obviously. i’m hoping writing and publishing the post imprinted your life, too – in a positive way. i know it will have a lasting, positive effect on me and others who read it. i tell you what: it’s on my required reading list. you are a treasure – as a person and as a writer. thank you again for being willing to press the send button on this one.

      and hey, let’s arrange that in-person hug soon, shall we?
      .-= whollyjeanne´s last blog ..contagion =-.

      • emma

        Autumn in your neck of the woods sounds intriguing. We’ll continue discussing. In the meantime, sending you frequent virtual hugs for whenever you need them, or just want them. 🙂 xo
        .-= emma´s last blog ..Pleasure Finds Friday: Panda Love =-.

  8. emma

    I’m in tears of wonder and gratitude that you have come into my life. I am honored to be part of this amazing sisterhood. The poem is stunning. And you have a palatial place in my heart. I hope someday to be able to do for you all you do for me. And until I can give you an in-person hug, this will have to do… xoxoxo -em

    • whollyjeanne

      emma, your posts usually touch something in me, open something up, gird me and guide me, but the post i refer to here, well, how do i count the ways? the event changed your life, obviously. i’m hoping writing and publishing the post imprinted your life, too – in a positive way. i know it will have a lasting, positive effect on me and others who read it. i tell you what: it’s on my required reading list. you are a treasure – as a person and as a writer. thank you again for being willing to press the send button on this one.

      and hey, let’s arrange that in-person hug soon, shall we?
      .-= whollyjeanne´s last blog ..contagion =-.

      • emma

        Autumn in your neck of the woods sounds intriguing. We’ll continue discussing. In the meantime, sending you frequent virtual hugs for whenever you need them, or just want them. 🙂 xo
        .-= emma´s last blog ..Pleasure Finds Friday: Panda Love =-.

  9. Marjory

    Dear Jeanne,
    the forgotten power of women coming together is emerging now, time for letting forgotten truths be told. Thank you for a beautiful post of appreciation.
    In gratitude,
    Marjory
    .-= Marjory´s last blog ..The voice of our Daimon, guiding genius spirit and source of inspiration =-.

    • whollyjeanne

      marjory, you’re right: there’s a power when women come together – a palpable power. we all see far too much of woman’s inhumanity to woman. too often, sabotaging and sniping are the only ways females know how to feel better about themselves. i am dedicated to seeing that we reach that tipping point, to teaching females of all ages positive, healthy ways to feel good about themselves. to know and own their own power. (note to self: find a better word, though. “power” has too much baggage – more than i can schlep).

      thank you for your beautiful posts, too, and for doing your part to support females and the feminine – which, as our julie daley says, are two separate things.
      .-= whollyjeanne´s last blog ..contagion =-.

  10. Julie Jordan Scott

    Ahhh, I have always felt that Neruda knows us… he knows women. I am so grateful you shared this today, dear Jeanne. The perfect companion to an afternoon/evening spent with women from Smith College, the school my beloved Katherine will attend starting this Fall. A wonderful place for women to expand and grow… just as this seemingly simple post by you is a place for women to expand and grow.
    .-= Julie Jordan Scott´s last blog ..Today’s Assignment: Note Moments of Zoning Out – #mindfulist =-.

    • whollyjeanne

      julie, what a wonderful day – the opening pages to a new chapter for both you and katherine. may her time at smith be a continuation of the rich, fertile soil you’ve provided her. lucky her. lucky you. lucky smith. lucky us.
      .-= whollyjeanne´s last blog ..contagion =-.

  11. Julie Jordan Scott

    Ahhh, I have always felt that Neruda knows us… he knows women. I am so grateful you shared this today, dear Jeanne. The perfect companion to an afternoon/evening spent with women from Smith College, the school my beloved Katherine will attend starting this Fall. A wonderful place for women to expand and grow… just as this seemingly simple post by you is a place for women to expand and grow.
    .-= Julie Jordan Scott´s last blog ..Today’s Assignment: Note Moments of Zoning Out – #mindfulist =-.

    • whollyjeanne

      julie, what a wonderful day – the opening pages to a new chapter for both you and katherine. may her time at smith be a continuation of the rich, fertile soil you’ve provided her. lucky her. lucky you. lucky smith. lucky us.
      .-= whollyjeanne´s last blog ..contagion =-.

  12. Bonnie

    Dear Jeanne,

    This is one of those times when I have more to express than is readily grasped. “Just what I want to say” eludes me. But because of meeting you and now, this sisterhood…it inspires me to keep writing toward it ~ toward all that I want to express. The feeling is mutual – I know that we were pre-determined to call each other “friend.” (Those license plates, I tell ya, they don’t lie!)

    The poem, well it’s perfect. It’s just perfect. A wonderful tribute (thank you) that has called so much to mind, that touched me & that is “whollyjeanne”

    ~Bonnie
    .-= Bonnie´s last blog ..WordPress.com: Now on HootSuite =-.

    • whollyjeanne

      sugar, writing about the value of mud is huge for me. i am surrounded by too many people who flat-out refuse to deal with the mud – which is their choice and fine by me – but, geez, the constant pollyanna noise can really wear a girl down sometimes. and then to (try to) tell me that there’s something wrong with me, to (try to) make me feel that i’m less of a person because i am not in constant sunglasses-required happy mode 24/7, well that gets real old real fast. shoot. i need another neruda poem to say what i’m trying to say. or maybe i’ll just write my own damn post about it soon, now that i’m encourage and fortified by you and your words.

      (but ii don’t think i am ready to write it in license platese. not just yet.)
      .-= whollyjeanne´s last blog ..contagion =-.

      • bwlight

        Thank you as am I! (fortified!) I was beginning to think I was the only one who didn’t stay on the “Happiness Bandwagon.” Oh, I tried it & it just took me for a ride and bounced me back off in the mud! I’m with you on those sentiments and others telling you what they’re telling me. “Do this,” “Just be happy,” “dance, skip through it” – oh boy! I understand the value of a positive attitude and fully appreciation “you manifest what you think about it” but I also know a child doesn’t manifest some of what she had to experience. You know what I’m saying, I think…

        In any event, THIS is the good stuff ~ connecting through it and finding the places it takes us. I think it takes us deep into ourselves and then to others who uplift us.

        And though I love Neruda (and I thought you were perfectly justified working with those pronouns!), I’d love to see another post from you! License plate or not!
        .-= bwlight´s last blog ..Mud-Happy-Writing =-.

  13. Bonnie

    Dear Jeanne,

    This is one of those times when I have more to express than is readily grasped. “Just what I want to say” eludes me. But because of meeting you and now, this sisterhood…it inspires me to keep writing toward it ~ toward all that I want to express. The feeling is mutual – I know that we were pre-determined to call each other “friend.” (Those license plates, I tell ya, they don’t lie!)

    The poem, well it’s perfect. It’s just perfect. A wonderful tribute (thank you) that has called so much to mind, that touched me & that is “whollyjeanne”

    ~Bonnie
    .-= Bonnie´s last blog ..WordPress.com: Now on HootSuite =-.

    • whollyjeanne

      sugar, writing about the value of mud is huge for me. i am surrounded by too many people who flat-out refuse to deal with the mud – which is their choice and fine by me – but, geez, the constant pollyanna noise can really wear a girl down sometimes. and then to (try to) tell me that there’s something wrong with me, to (try to) make me feel that i’m less of a person because i am not in constant sunglasses-required happy mode 24/7, well that gets real old real fast. shoot. i need another neruda poem to say what i’m trying to say. or maybe i’ll just write my own damn post about it soon, now that i’m encourage and fortified by you and your words.

      (but ii don’t think i am ready to write it in license platese. not just yet.)
      .-= whollyjeanne´s last blog ..contagion =-.

      • bwlight

        Thank you as am I! (fortified!) I was beginning to think I was the only one who didn’t stay on the “Happiness Bandwagon.” Oh, I tried it & it just took me for a ride and bounced me back off in the mud! I’m with you on those sentiments and others telling you what they’re telling me. “Do this,” “Just be happy,” “dance, skip through it” – oh boy! I understand the value of a positive attitude and fully appreciation “you manifest what you think about it” but I also know a child doesn’t manifest some of what she had to experience. You know what I’m saying, I think…

        In any event, THIS is the good stuff ~ connecting through it and finding the places it takes us. I think it takes us deep into ourselves and then to others who uplift us.

        And though I love Neruda (and I thought you were perfectly justified working with those pronouns!), I’d love to see another post from you! License plate or not!
        .-= bwlight´s last blog ..Mud-Happy-Writing =-.

  14. Kate T.W.

    I think that it is completely brilliant of you to change those pronouns. Renegade poetry lovers unite! Thank you for sharing this, and sharing you.
    .-= Kate T.W.´s last blog ..Happy Moonday! The Moonday Experiment Continues… =-.

    • whollyjeanne

      kate!!! i’ve missed you – so glad you’re back. yeah, some high school english teachers really did a number on my poetry self, convincing me there’s only ONE interpretation of any poem and that it’s never MY interpretation. and write poetry? oh, just typing those words makes me want to take to bed. so i just enjoy the work of other poets . . . of which you are one . . . creating poetry with more than mere words over there at amusingfire. (i mean, that name conjures all on its own.) oh yes, kate, i am so glad to see you again.
      .-= whollyjeanne´s last blog ..contagion =-.

  15. Kate T.W.

    I think that it is completely brilliant of you to change those pronouns. Renegade poetry lovers unite! Thank you for sharing this, and sharing you.
    .-= Kate T.W.´s last blog ..Happy Moonday! The Moonday Experiment Continues… =-.

    • whollyjeanne

      kate!!! i’ve missed you – so glad you’re back. yeah, some high school english teachers really did a number on my poetry self, convincing me there’s only ONE interpretation of any poem and that it’s never MY interpretation. and write poetry? oh, just typing those words makes me want to take to bed. so i just enjoy the work of other poets . . . of which you are one . . . creating poetry with more than mere words over there at amusingfire. (i mean, that name conjures all on its own.) oh yes, kate, i am so glad to see you again.
      .-= whollyjeanne´s last blog ..contagion =-.

  16. Marjory

    Dear Jeanne,
    the forgotten power of women coming together is emerging now, time for letting forgotten truths be told. Thank you for a beautiful post of appreciation.
    In gratitude,
    Marjory
    .-= Marjory´s last blog ..The voice of our Daimon, guiding genius spirit and source of inspiration =-.

    • whollyjeanne

      marjory, you’re right: there’s a power when women come together – a palpable power. we all see far too much of woman’s inhumanity to woman. too often, sabotaging and sniping are the only ways females know how to feel better about themselves. i am dedicated to seeing that we reach that tipping point, to teaching females of all ages positive, healthy ways to feel good about themselves. to know and own their own power. (note to self: find a better word, though. “power” has too much baggage – more than i can schlep).

      thank you for your beautiful posts, too, and for doing your part to support females and the feminine – which, as our julie daley says, are two separate things.
      .-= whollyjeanne´s last blog ..contagion =-.

  17. olive & hope

    Jeanne I love this poem – I did read it aloud 😉 and I will continue to read it. I feel like you are shining a light on me with your words. I have been a little quiet lately, because I have been stuck in an if-you-don’t-have-something-nice-to-say hole. I am feeling frustrated because I’ve been having a hard time expressing myself in a way that feels authentic. So I haven’t been expressing myself. And honestly that feels worse. I still have yet to express myself – even by collage! I find myself in awe of you amazing women that I’ve come to know in the last few weeks, in awe of your courage and honesty, and how that comes through in your writing. Thank you for being wholly you!
    .-= olive & hope´s last blog ..Trees. Women. Beauty. And BS. =-.

    • whollyjeanne

      i know that hole you’re stuck in, and i know what you mean when yous ay that it’s worse saying nothing. i find that the pressure, the expectation that you always have to say something nice – something that will be judged and deemed nice by anybody and everybody’s definition – is especially stifling. that’s why i love bonnie’s post so much. i love your trees/women/beauty post, and listen, sugar: just turn your fingers loose and see where they take you. that’s my vote. and if you need shoring up or encouragement or a set of friendly eyes to read it before you hit publish, you know where to find me.
      .-= whollyjeanne´s last blog ..haiti: ways to help =-.

  18. olive & hope

    Jeanne I love this poem – I did read it aloud 😉 and I will continue to read it. I feel like you are shining a light on me with your words. I have been a little quiet lately, because I have been stuck in an if-you-don’t-have-something-nice-to-say hole. I am feeling frustrated because I’ve been having a hard time expressing myself in a way that feels authentic. So I haven’t been expressing myself. And honestly that feels worse. I still have yet to express myself – even by collage! I find myself in awe of you amazing women that I’ve come to know in the last few weeks, in awe of your courage and honesty, and how that comes through in your writing. Thank you for being wholly you!
    .-= olive & hope´s last blog ..Trees. Women. Beauty. And BS. =-.

    • whollyjeanne

      i know that hole you’re stuck in, and i know what you mean when yous ay that it’s worse saying nothing. i find that the pressure, the expectation that you always have to say something nice – something that will be judged and deemed nice by anybody and everybody’s definition – is especially stifling. that’s why i love bonnie’s post so much. i love your trees/women/beauty post, and listen, sugar: just turn your fingers loose and see where they take you. that’s my vote. and if you need shoring up or encouragement or a set of friendly eyes to read it before you hit publish, you know where to find me.
      .-= whollyjeanne´s last blog ..haiti: ways to help =-.

  19. olive & hope

    Jeanne you are the best! xo I just adore you. Even more so after reading your comment re: your weekend with your teen girls on Julie’s last post.

  20. olive & hope

    Jeanne you are the best! xo I just adore you. Even more so after reading your comment re: your weekend with your teen girls on Julie’s last post.

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