Hungry Beggar

September 3, 2006

The imagery of food – of telling our stories – and in that telling we feed those who listen is something that is “eating” at me these past few days.

My wild and creative friend of the prairie wrote an incredible piece about a pot luck supper, groaning tables, and the imagery of the beggars and our responsiblilty for feeding them.

Here is a small taste of her words…

And always, outside the door, sit those who are ragged, poor, and starving.

What have you been cooking, chopping, stirring, stewing? Are you going to come to the pot luck dinner? What smells will waft into the air from your dish?

Are you sitting outside in the cold, feeling unworthy, ragged, starving, devoid of resources? Will you take the plate offered and let it give you strength? Will you recognize your own culpability in your poverty and begin to do the work that will make you one of those who bring in a casserole dish redolent with flavors, textures, and scents?

Will the door open and close, open and close, on another cycle either leaving you outside or seeing you fill a plate even though you haven’t done the work to bring your own dish to the groaning table?

And yet what responsibility do the beggars have? Are they not in some way responsible? Yet to imply this makes the beggars feel judged. Where then is my compassion for the hungry beggar who will not lift her heart to heaven? What is my responsibility to her?

I don’t know… and yet it “gnaws” at my belly – this idea that I would tire of feeding the hungry beggars…

Hungry Beggar

Refuse to fall down.
If you cannot refuse to fall down,
refuse to stay down,
lift your heart toward heaven like a hungry beggar,
ask that it be filled
and it will be filled.

You may be pushed down.
You may be kept from rising.
But no one can keep you from lifting your heart
toward heaven – only you.

It is in the middle of misery
that so much becomes clear.

The one who says nothing good came of this
is not yet listening.

Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Wild Woman and poet and so much more…


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