Friday, October 26, 2012

The Handless Maiden

The Handless Maiden Heavy with Child  (Stacy Wills, 2012)

Offered without commentary, this image was inspired by working with the story of The Handless Maiden during week 7 of Women on the Threshold, an online retreat offered through Abbey of the Arts.  You can find variations of the story by googling, "the handless maiden" or "the girl without hands."    There is  also a  version available  on Wikipedia.  Clarissa Pinkola Estes and Robert Johnson have also worked with this story and offer valuable insights in their writings.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Whose Hands Are These?

Hands (Stacy Wills, 2012)

Whose Hands Are These?

Whose hands are these?
I think I know.  They're
my Granny Mildred's hands -
that  soothed and
 sewed and made things grow.

Whose hands are these?
I think I know.  They're
my Grandma Ruth's hands -
that played hard, and
 worked hard, and made
life fun;   hands
 that left this world too soon.

Whose hands are these?
I think I know.  They're
my mother's hands -
Roberta's graceful, manicured
 hands that  love to make
things beautiful.
Soft hands that tamed
my unruly hair.
Skillful hands that knew
  their way around the kitchen.

Whose hands are these?
I think I know.
They're my father's hands -
Irvin's hands that kept
 things clean and in order.
Savvy hands that knew
how to play the game.
Generous hands to many.

Whose hands are these?
I think I know.
They're my hands -
Stacy's hands - that know
  the healing power of creativity.
I come from a long line
of gifted hands.

-Stacy Wills (10/19/2012)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Keep Moving

Keep Moving (Stacy Wills, 2012)

  The ground beneath our feet
is cold and hard, 
as unforgiving 
as the hardest hearts
that forced our exile,
but leave we must.
Keep moving!

 We gather what little we can
 in our haste to leave 
this home we love.
How will we ever find another?
Yes, we have  our memories,
but even they are too heavy to carry now.
Keep moving!

Why?  Why?
  The question stings  our brain
even more cruelly than
   the icy wind stings our faces.
Instinctively,  we pull 
  our wool scarves higher - 
 a pitiful defense. 
But what else is there?
Keep moving!

O God, (if there is a god),
protect us in our flight.  
We are grateful
 for the full moon's light,
this lamp for our poor feet.
But what of dawn?
What ravages will be revealed?
Some wounds never heal.
Keep moving!

We ask the shining stars above
 if the nights we spent beneath them,
 loving and dreaming in our beds
will ever come again,
but they are silent.
Keep moving!

We tread precariously 
on a crumbling ledge of sanity.
This is the cost and pain of war.
With every step we cry:  No more
Yet all the while, we're moving.
Keep moving!

-Stacy Wills (10/12/2012)

This poem and painting were inspired by the song Keep Moving, by Trish Bruxvoort Colligan, during week 6 of Women on the Threshold, an online retreat from Abbey of the Arts.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Extravagant Woman

Do You See This Woman (Stacy Wills, mixed media 2012)

A Story from Luke's Gospel, Chapter 7, verses 36-50

Simon the Pharisee invited me to dinner,
so I went and reclined at his table.
A woman of the city, a sinner,
heard that I was there, and came, as well.
An uninvited, and some might say, unwelcome guest.

The room where we gathered was crowded,
but somehow this woman managed 
to get through to where I was.
She stood behind me, weeping silently, 
her long hair, covering her face, so no one would see.
But I could feel the hot tears falling on my feet.
Eventually, some of the other guests began to notice, 
and started pointing and whispering.
Suddenly, she was overcome with shame.
Quickly, she knelt  to dry them 
with the only thing she could - her hair.
  It was then she must have seen 
the condition my  feet were in.

I will never forget what happened next,
and neither will you when you hear it.
 This woman did the most amazing thing.
 Instead of running away, embarrassed,
she drew an alabaster flask from her bosom and opened it.
Perfume filled the air, as she began to anoint
 my poor feet lavishly with the most luxurious oil.    
Such extravagance! 
How grateful I was to have my dirty, tired feet
washed by her  tears,  then dried
with the silkiest, finest, softest hair I've ever felt.
Her fingers, cool and long,  began massaging...
and gently caressing my feet...and she kissed them.
For a eternity...the crowded room fell away -
and it was just the two of us there.

Then the thoughts began to penetrate my mind.
I knew what Simon was thinking:
If this man were a prophet, surely he would know who
and what sort of woman was touching him!
Oh Simon, I sighed, I have something to say to you.
Say it, Teacher.

A hush fell over the room, so I told this story:
Once upon a time, a certain moneylender had two debtors.  
One owed five hundred denarii, the other fifty.  
When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both.
Now, which one of them do you think will love him more?
The one for whom he cancelled the larger debt, I suppose.
Ah, you judge rightly, Simon.
All the other guests turned and looked at Simon admiringly.

But I turned and looked at the woman...really looked at her.
She lifted her face to me, and for the first time that night,
 our eyes met.   I held her gaze for a long time.
 I knew her.
Finally, the room grew quiet again, and still gazing at her,
I spoke to Simon and said:

Do you see this woman?

The question hung in the air.

Simon, When I came to your house, you gave me no water
to wash my feet, no kiss of greeting;
but this woman has not only 
washed my feet with her tears
and dried them with her hair,
she has kissed them, and kissed them and kissed them!  
You did not  offer to anoint my head with oil, 
but this woman - she could see how tired I was,
  and anointed my feet with precious oil.

Oh yes, she has loved much, 
for her sins, which were many, are forgiven.
 You are not well acquainted with forgiveness, Simon.
For those who are forgiven little.

Then I spoke to the woman directly and said, 
Your sins are forgiven.
Then the room really started to buzz!
Who does he think he is...forgiving sins...bah!

So I said to her, lifting her up,
Woman, your faith has saved you; go in Peace.