January with Jane – 13. The Supple Deer

The quiet opening

between fence strands

perhaps eighteen inches.

Antlers to hind hooves,

four feet off the ground

the deer poured through.

No tuft of the coarse white belly hair left behind.

I don’t know how a stag turns

into a stream, an arc of water.

I have never felt such accurate envy.

Not of the deer:

To be that porous, to have such largeness pass through me

What a stunning reversal in this one, to go along thinking

that the point is to become fluid like the deer,

to overcome boundaries or push through confinements,

  • the ways you have been fenced in (or out)
  • drawn lines around who you are allowed to be, what you are allowed to do, and still be lovable
  • assumed definitions that de –fine

(to meet in that field beyond right-doing and wrong-doing?, perhaps

or simply to partake of the nurture you have disallowed yourself due to that pervasive sense of unworthiness, as if your very humanity is a mistake

“No, you are not admitted to that table!”, though the food is freely offered

organic nourishment, part of the cycle of life

But no, that is not where you are being led at all

Rather, to imagine yourself as fence,

that part of yourself always perceived as separating your self from


Other? All? Divine? Power? Grace? Love?

What is that Largeness that desires to pour itself through the very bones of your body

Oh, to let it pass through you into that field of life beyond, desperately awaiting its presence,

needing its presence to restore balance to an earth too controlled by fear

The boundary is within yourself, of course, that boundary (again) of unworthiness…

AFter all, “Who do you think you are?”

Or could it be (and this is also true for me too–

I felt it in the tuft of hair not caught)

The heaviness of other’s judgments, perceptions, labels

(oh, there it is again- de-fine -itions)

their need (for you to be a certain way in order to receive their love),

your own sense of ‘not good enoughness’

Shame, oh, there it is

Catches on something within as it passes through

on the hook, of course, of our own self-talk

Though its been a long time since I felt that quite so painfully

the spaces between the slats of my heart grown wide(r)

it still catches from time to time on a splinter…

I remember a kind woman, an elder most wise,

advising me to be like lace

to let things pass through , catching only what is good,

not the tuft of hair of something coarse,

unrefined by the fire of transformation perhaps,

though still lovable, I need no longer take it on as my own.

So even here, in my reflecting on this piece

It takes an unexpected turn.

Is the largeness that I give permission to pass through

Something Good, for Which the world needs me to be a conduit of compassion

or Something Not-so-Good (my fenceposts don’t lean towards the word evil) which I need not allow get trapped within me, caught on my own shame.

I think the first , but perhaps before I can do so,

I must practice the last.

For in either case, it is the shame of unworthiness that keeps the largeness of whatever it is from flowing through

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