Notes on poems & sonnets
Sonnet of the Hardened Heart: love theme: first appeared in my book Jesus and Eros
Annelid Sonnet: love theme: first appeared in the Society of Classical Poets
Fool: love theme: unpublished
Cut Sonnet: mental health theme: first appeared in Jesus and Eros
El Shaddai: “feminist” theme: first appeared in Jesus and Eros
Sonnet of the Hardened Heart
Care less, I warn myself; bother no more
With inner crevices: prying the shell
Like scabs (rough, oozing, sore), which crust, but tell
Of tumults against the psychic seabed floor;
It is in vain. Swollen and hard around
The meat (like newborn skin, or the vaginal flower),
The protection, obdurate, damns me. Damn the mound
Which buries my soul and suffocates what little power
My will may afford. That meat, that flower, that skin
(A pulsing pinkish mass) is thus entombed;
And yet, for her to exist at all, the wound
Must needs be sealed by this guardian within.
She lives within her shell; perhaps she dies
As well, because it makes and mutes her cries.
An annelid is a blood-sucking creature, like a leech
I thought I had forgotten you by now,
But I have not. Must I go again
Into this place of torment? Tell me how
To get rid of this leech that suckles when
I try to free it. How I can I walk on
When I am chained? I bury you inside,
Outside, within, withal, whereon, be gone!
Be dead! But in the casket you abide,
Alive but molded, withered; rotten worm
That will not die, though I had thought you dead!
I lunge forth and away, but you hold firm
With prongs embedded in my bones and head.
Oh, you have held a place within too long,
Too undeserved, too late to right the wrong.
Fool that I was, oh fool, I was a fool,
That I had ever opened up my heart
And let you, rogue, into it. Not a part
Of me escaped humiliation. Cruel
As cruelty can be, you were the tool
That sunk my spirit; you deigned to impart
That lasting blow to keep us both apart,
Exposing my full self to ridicule.
For if indeed I had had better sense
Than fall for such a piece of work as you,
When everything I did was an offense,
And your supposed false love was never true,
Oh, had I had the sense I do today,
I could have wisely sensed to run away!
What will begin as thought will end in deed.
A striking of the skin of flesh and heart
And then the friction giving way to bleed
With red relief, like tears which know no part
Of reason or of sanity, but flow
Responsive to the need to rip and see
A mirror wounding from without. Although
One can touch, the other is not free—
Except in reciprocity, to splay
Itself, the earthly to the earth.
And then this ugly skin-ding will display
Until the salve of time will show its worth.
For memories can thus become unmade,
And pain can ease and even scars do fade.
The Supreme-Breasted One (El Shaddai)
The woman in my Father’s face
The ruach of my soul
Male images have hid the shad,
The breast, that El Shaddai has had
To comfort those, who wounded, have
Quite never been made whole.
Born anew? Yes; a birth it is—
But only from the pronoun “His”?
When earthly form so plainly shows
That woman is in what seed grows
And germinates, and procreates?
And she, whom Comfort has made flesh
To show His less, nay, more than “manliness”:
That He is really also “She”—
A femininity in Trinity?
Oh yes! Oh blind paternals! Who do you think your Mother is?
Or has it never bothered you
That God could be a Mother, too?
(You may think this idea is new,
But male and female, in the image “His,” Were long before theology, created.)
Is not our present view,
The image halved, unsolved, vastly untrue?
Can we deny our Author right
To words and views which may help light
This darkened, incompleted sight?
If God’s eternal Word could flesh partake,
(A flesh of only woman, too) can we
Deny to let that Word be free
To partake fleshly female nouns? Did “He”
Establish this dichotomy?
We shall soon see.
Oh Ruach, blessed Spirit, in Hebrew tongue
The praise of Elohim is sung,
A masculine noun in text.
But yours, against device, is feminine!
Shekinah, God’s glory; Torah, God’s guidance; and next
Is Chockmah, God’s wisdom: all feminine, too.
Can we shun
What God has begun
Long before the Patriarchs hung
Their bias before our eyes? Can a Son
Have only one parent, the masculine?
“But wait,” you may say, “you’re destroying the types. We know
That Christ will wed the Church; She
Is the very femininity
Of which you seek.”
True; but it perplexes me
How male and female form His bride,
But with God’s clearly female side
We choose to commit matricide.
The Spirit labors with child. Second birth, second womb;
Our self has died and left us vacancy
That Her First-Born may fill. Into the tomb,
Holy Seed, to quicken the human soul in urgency!
Now delivered, life from Life is come:
O feed me, fill me, Supreme-Breasted One.
Theresa Rodriguez is the author of three books of poetry: Jesus and Eros: Sonnets,
Poems and Songs (Bardsinger Books, 2015), Longer Thoughts (Shanti Arts, 2020), and Sonnets, a collection of sixty-five sonnets (Shanti Arts, 2020). Her work has appeared in
such journals as The Scarlet Leaf Review, The Wilderness House Literary Review,
Spindrift, Mezzo Cammin, The Wombwell Rainbow, Serotonin, The Road Not Taken,
and the Society of Classical Poets Journal. Her website is http://www.bardsinger.com,
where you can view videos of her performance poetry and find information about her
books. Follow Theresa on Instagram and Twitter @thesonnetqueen.