Kathleen Norris

POETRY: Ascension by Kathleen Norris

May 10, 2018

Why do you stand looking up at the skies? (Acts 1:11) It wasn’t just wind, chasing thin gunmetal clouds across the loud sky; it wasn’t the feeling that one might ascend on that excited air, rising like a trumpet note. And it wasn’t just my sister’s water breaking, her crying out, the downward draw of blood and bone…. It was all of that, the mud and new grass pushing up through melting snow, the lilac in bud by my front door, bent low by last week’s ice storm. Now the new mother, that leaky vessel, begins to nurse her child, beginning the long [...]

POETRY: Excerpts From The Angel Handbook by Kathleen Norris

November 1, 2017

Be careful how you unfold your wings— there are some in the world who are not content unless their teeth are full of feathers You may find employment with the Sanitation Department or at any laundry When you ride subways wear ornate silver shoes and always stand near the door When you cross at intersections look both ways, then up It will often be expedient to altogether remove your wings from your back, where people will first think to look for them, and carry them around inside you— at such times be careful that your hands do not forget and begin to imitate their beating in your heart, for if you begin to fly, the police will be called and you will only confuse them You will find that you are most free when you are able to sit still [...]

POETRY: Luke 14, A Commentary by Kathleen Norris

October 18, 2017

So he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noted how they chose the best places, saying to them: “When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited by him; and he who invited you and him come and say to you, ‘Give place to this man,’ and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher.’ Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 14:7-11) He is there like Clouseau [...]

POETRY: A Prayer To Eve by Kathleen Norris

October 14, 2017

Mother of fictions and of irony, help us to laugh. Mother of science and the critical method, keep up humble. Muse of listeners, hope of interpreters, inspire us to act. Bless our metaphors, that we might eat them. Help us to know, Eve, the one thing we must do. Come with us, muse of exile, mother of the [...]

POETRY: Mrs. Adam by Kathleen Norris

October 8, 2017

I have lately come to the conclusion that I am Eve, alias Mrs. Adam. You know, there is no account of her death in the Bible, and why am I not Eve? (Emily Dickinson in a letter, 12 January, 1846) Wake up, you’ll need your wits about you. This is not a dream, but a woman who loves you, speaking. She was there when you cried out; she brushed the terror away. She knew when it was time to sin. You were wise to let her handle it, and leave that place. We couldn’t speak at first for the bitter knowledge, the sweet taste of memory on our tongues. Listen, it’s time. You were chosen too, to put the world [...]

POETRY: Answered Prayer by Kathleen Norris

December 10, 2014

I came to your door with soup and bread. I didn’t know you but you were a neighbor in pain: and a little soup and bread, I reasoned, never hurt anyone. I shouldn’t reason. I appeared the day your divorce was final: a woman, flushed with cooking and talk, and you watched, fascinated, coiled like a spring. You seemed so brave and lonely I wanted to comfort you like a child. I couldn’t of course. You wanted to ask me too far in. It was then I knew it had to be like prayer. We can’t ask for what we know we want: we have to ask to be led someplace we never dreamed of going, a place we don’t want to be. We’ll find ourselves there one morning, opened like leaves, and it will be all [...]