Vivien’s courage

the sky shits blood — bomb
after nuclear bomb, they
drop like rain — somehow
I dodge them all, dancing my
absurd dance of denial

If trying to dodge nuclear bombs suggests denial, what kind of alternative response would indicate acceptance? Standing, arms stretched wide in welcome? Maybe yes in fact. I also dreamed my father was affirming and encouraging my interest in learning New Testament Greek. He says (in the dream) he knew someone who ditched theological studies and was left the poorer ‘with nothing to be afraid of’. Yesterday I was thinking of my copy of the Greek New Testament which I had in the eighties. In the introduction it explained that normal practice among the Romans was to crucify people on a singe upright stake. Chances are about 90% in favour of believing that Jesus was crucified on a single upright stake with no crossbar. The central symbol of Christianity — Christ on the cross — is well worth examining critically. I am still reading Painted Shadow by Carole Seymour-Jones, about Vivien, first wife of T.S. Eliot. And still finding it disturbing and distressing in the extreme. Maybe both dream and poem reflect this. She was an excellent dancer apparently. Thinking of the nightmare which was her life, the image came to mind yesterday of a woman crucified on the cross: the only image to sum up what they did to Vivien. In terms of theology, what if God had crucified his own daughter, rather than his own son? What if we were required by Christianity to pray to a woman on the cross? How absurd would that be?

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