After a lifetime outcast as childless,
she gave home to one who should not
have been with child.
God—sheltered by humanity—first heard
welcome from two women proclaiming
over unborn children.
Still questioned by her kin, speaking her
child’s name, they called to confirm it
with her silenced husband.
Her boy “grew and became strong in spirit,
and was in the deserts till the day
of his manifestation.”
Wound in wilderness and bearing his
mother’s barrenness, he had learned
from her to wait, with his last breath,
for the greater one. Watching since
the womb, he decreased willingly
and died asking: “Is this, now,
Even before her son, her heart knew of swords
and losses, and (even then) she returned
thanks and consolation.
She believed that God’s Kingdom was
for such as these, and she knows now
what His love has conquered.
From The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns and Fairies by Robert Kirk (1644-1692). (Find more here about Kirk and this work of his.) The first paragraph is my rewrite into modern English, and the next is the original spelling:
Their bodies of congealled air are some times caried aloft. Other times they grovel in different shapes, and enter into any cranny or cleft of the earth where air enters, to their ordinary dwellings (the earth being full of cavities and cells)—and there being no place nor creature but is supposed to have other animals (greater or lesser) living in or upon it as inhabitants; and no such thing as a pure wilderness in the whole universe.
There Bodies of congealled Air are fome tymes caried aloft, other whiles grovell in different Schapes, and enter into any Cranie or Clift of the Earth where Air enters, to their ordinary Dwellings; the Earth being full of Cavities and Cells, and there being no Place nor Creature but is fuppofed to have other Animals (greater or lefler) living in or upon it as Inhabitants; and no fuch thing as a pure Wildernefe in the whole Univerfe.
That is how life goes—we send our children into the wilderness. Some of them on the day they are born, it seems, for all the help we can give them. Some of them seem to be a kind of wilderness unto themselves. But there must be angels there, too, and springs of water. Even that wilderness, the very habitation of jackals, is the Lord’s. I need to bear this in mind.
From Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (119), reflecting on the story of Hagar and Ishmael.
To become a mother goose gives one insight into the life of the gosling that cannot be gained by a thousand trips into the wilderness to study geese.
John George in “The Company We Keep” from The Reader’s Digest collection of 72 true stories called Animals You Will Never Forget.