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Walls or No Walls

(This poem was written at the time of the church trial of Beth Stroud, and is here now when we are on the brink of putting another woman, Amy DeLong, on trial for performing a wedding ceremony for two women and for announcing that she herself is a lesbian. I could not find a way to make spaces in poetry and so I have inserted three hyphens instead to indicate a space.)

Walls

or

No Walls

(Dedicated to Beth Stroud)

the rules are there

to separate

who’s in

who’s out

and as the law

gains strength

it builds the wall

it is not new

these walls

the church creates

in other times

the law divided

blacks and whites

or stopped the women

from the service

that ordained

all justified

by Scripture quotes

and moral arguments

and yet the Spirit moves

a mighty church

to shout apologies

long after racist walls

came tumblin’ down

leaving the rocks

and boulders to still be

sifted through

the Spirit whispered

strength to women

and with the strength

the women kept on

keeping on

till finally they

kneel at last

with bishops’ hands

upon their heads

ordaining to new ministries

and feminist feet

kicked bits of stone

from fallen walls

and now within

the very church that

claims such open doors

the law is clear again

if gay or lesbian

you may not

be ordained

or if ordained

you may be stripped

and stone is placed

on stone as walls

and church

disrupt the lives

once more

but Spirit wind

is blowing now

feeling the heart break

that spills far beyond

one soul

so stripped

the Spirit carries the

echo of the song

that holds the gentleness

and the anger together

the Spirit breathes

and with each breath

shares witness

that walls hold weakness

within themselves

and this wall too

has cracks sprung

loose and spreading fast

for numbers grow

of those who join

their hands and hearts

to say with new resolve

“We will keep loving—

we will keep living—

we will make room

until the walls are

pebbles underfoot.”

© Copyright 2004 Ann Freeman Price

One thought on “Walls or No Walls

  1. vlfielder says:

    This is a beautiful and very moving poem, Ann. Thanks for sharing it.

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