Women in Praise of the Sacred

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-11-13
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publications

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This beautiful collection of poems, prayers and songs is by women throughout history, from a wide variety of religious traditions. Biographies and insightful commentary by Hirshfield accompany the poems and illuminate their historical contexts and meanings.

Table of Contents

Enheduanna (ca. 2300 B.C.E.)p. 3
from The Hymn to Inannap. 4
Shu-Sin's Ritual Bride (ca. 2000 B.C.E.)p. 8
Bridegroom, beloved of my heartp. 9
Makeda, Queen of Sheba (ca. 1000 B.C.E.)p. 11
Wisdom isp. 13
I fellp. 14
Sappho (7th c. B.C.E.)p. 15
Leave Cretep. 16
Evening Star who gathers everythingp. 17
Sumangalamata (6th c. B.C.E.)p. 18
At last freep. 18
Patacara (6th c. B.C.E.)p. 19
When they plow their fieldsp. 20
Zi Ye (6th-3rd c. B.C.E.)p. 21
All night I could not sleepp. 21
Song of Songs: The Shulammite (ca. 3rd c. B.C.E.)p. 22
I am dark, daughters of Jerusalem (Song 1:5-6)p. 23
At night on my bed I longed for (Song 3:1-5)p. 24
I was asleep but my heart stayed awake (Song 5:2-6)p. 25
Come, my beloved (Song 7:12-14)p. 27
Pan Zhao (48-117?)p. 28
Needle and Threadp. 28
Gnostic Gospel: Nag Hammadi Library (2nd-4th c.)p. 29
from The Thunder: Perfect Mindp. 30
A Roman Spell (2nd-4th c.?)p. 34
I bind you by oathp. 35
Sabina Lampadius (fl. ca. 377)p. 36
As a symbolp. 37
Antal (8th c.)p. 38
O sister of wealthp. 39
O you who guard overp. 40
We rose before dawnp. 41
Rabi'a (717-801)p. 42
I am fully qualified to work as a doorkeeper . . .p. 43
O my Lord,/if I worship youp. 44
O my Lord,/the stars glitterp. 45
Yeshe Tsogyel (757?-817?)p. 46
Listen,/O brothers and sistersp. 47
Lakshminkara (8th c.)p. 48
Lay your head on a block of butter and chop -p. 49
Three Tantric Buddhist Women's Songs (8th-11th c.)p. 51
KYE HO! Wonderful!/Lotus pollen wakes up . . .p. 51
Who speaks the sound of an echo?p. 52
KYE HO! Wonderful!/You may say "existence". . .p. 52
Kassiane (804?-?)p. 53
Troparionp. 54
Yu Xuanji (843?-868)p. 55
At Home in the Summer Mountainsp. 56
Izumi Shikibu (974?-1034?)p. 57
I cannot sayp. 58
Watching the moonp. 59
Although I tryp. 60
Although the windp. 61
The way I must enterp. 62
Ly Ngoc Kieu (1041-1113)p. 63
Birth, old agep. 63
Li Qingzhao (1084-1151?)p. 64
Written to the Tune "The Fisherman's Honor"p. 65
Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179)p. 66
Antiphon for Divine Wisdomp. 67
Antiphon for the Holy Spiritp. 68
Antiphon for the Angelsp. 69
Song to the Creatorp. 70
Alleluia-verse for the Virginp. 71
Kojiju (1121?-1201?)p. 72
On the Spirit of the Heart as Moon-Diskp. 72
Sun Bu-er (1124-?)p. 73
Cut brambles long enoughp. 73
Late Indian summer'sp. 74
Zhou Xuanjing (12th c.)p. 75
Meditating at midnightp. 75
Cui Shaoxuan (dates unknown)p. 76
Black hair and red cheeks: for how long?p. 76
Mahadeviyakka (12th c.)p. 77
(On Her Decision to Stop Wearing Clothes)p. 78
So long as this breath fills your nostrilsp. 79
When I am hungryp. 80
A vein of sapphiresp. 81
It was like a streamp. 82
When the body becomes Your mirrorp. 83
I do not call it his signp. 84
Mechtild of Magdeburg (1207?-1282? or 1297?)p. 85
I cannot dance, O Lordp. 86
A fish cannot drown in waterp. 87
God speaks to the soulp. 88
How the soul speaks to Godp. 89
How God answers the soulp. 90
The desert has many teachingsp. 91
How God comes to the soulp. 92
Effortlesslyp. 93
God's absencep. 94
True love in every moment praises Godp. 95
Of all that God has shown mep. 96
Marguerite Porete (?-1310)p. 97
Beloved, what do you want of me?p. 98
Hadewijch of Antwerp (13th c.)p. 99
Love's maturityp. 100
Knowing Love in herselfp. 101
Love's constancyp. 102
The madness of lovep. 103
Love has subjugated mep. 104
Hadewijch II (13th c.)p. 105
All things/are too smallp. 106
If I desire something, I know it notp. 107
Tighten/to nothingp. 108
You who want/knowledgep. 109
The French Beguine (late 13th c.)p. 110
from The Soul Speaksp. 111
Jusammi Chikako (fl. ca. 1300)p. 113
On this summer nightp. 113
Janabai (1298?-1350?)p. 114
Cast off all shamep. 115
Catherine of Siena (1347-1380)p. 116
from Prayer 20p. 117
Lal Ded (14th c.?)p. 118
I drag a boat over the oceanp. 119
I was passionatep. 120
The soul, like the moonp. 121
This world,/compared to You -p. 122
Coursing in emptinessp. 123
To learn the scriptures is easyp. 124
I searched for my Selfp. 125
On the way to God the difficultiesp. 126
At the end of a crazy-moon nightp. 127
Vittoria Colonna (1492-1547)p. 128
As a starved little bird, who sees and hearsp. 129
I see in my mind, surrounding Godp. 130
Mirabai (1498-1565?)p. 131
O friends, I am madp. 132
Love has stained my bodyp. 133
All I Was Doing Was Breathingp. 134
The wild woman of the forestsp. 135
O friends on this Pathp. 136
The song of the flute, O sister, is madnessp. 137
O friend, understand: the bodyp. 138
Why Mira Can't Go Back to Her Old Housep. 139
I was going to the river for waterp. 140
The Heat of Midnight Tearsp. 141
It's True I Went to the Marketp. 142
Teresa of Avila (1515-1582)p. 143
(Lines written on a bookmark found in her Breviary)p. 144
Maria de' Medici, Queen of France (1573-1642)p. 145
(To the Virgin)p. 145
Two Nahuatl Invocations (early 1600s)p. 146
(Invocation for storing corn)p. 147
(A midwife's invocation)p. 148
Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672)p. 149
from The Vanity of All Worldly Thingsp. 150
Catharina Regina von Greiffenberg (1633-1694)p. 151
On the Ineffable Inspiration of the Holy Spiritp. 152
On the Fruit-Providing Autumn Seasonp. 153
from On the Sweet Comfort Brought by Gracep. 154
Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz (1648?-1695)p. 155
Because my Lord was born to sufferp. 157
Since Love is shiveringp. 158
Chiyo-ni (1703-1775)p. 160
The morning glory!p. 161
Grazing/ my fishing linep. 162
From the mind/of a single, long vinep. 163
Ann Griffiths (1776-1805)p. 164
His left hand, in heat of noondayp. 165
Emily Bronte (1818-1848)p. 166
No coward soul is minep. 167
Bibi Hayati (?-1853)p. 168
Is this darkness the night of Power . . .p. 169
Before there was a trace of this world of menp. 170
Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)p. 171
Who has not found the Heaven - below -p. 172
I never saw a Moor -p. 173
Death is a dialogue betweenp. 174
The Props assist the Housep. 175
Dare you see a Soul at the White Heat?p. 176
I'm ceded - I've stopped being Theirs -p. 177
'Tis little I - could care for Pearls -p. 178
I had been hungry, all the Years -p. 179
Mine - by the Right of the White Election!p. 180
Wild Nights - Wild Nights!p. 181
The Infinite a sudden Guestp. 182
Let me not thirst with this Hock at my Lipp. 183
A Georgia Sea Island Shout Song (19th c.)p. 184
Down to the Mirep. 185
Penny Jessye's Deathbed Spiritual (19th c.)p. 186
Good Lord in That Heavenp. 187
Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830-1894)p. 188
After Communionp. 189
from Behold a Shakingp. 190
Amenp. 191
from Later Life: A Double Sonnet of Sonnetsp. 192
Uvavnuk (19th c.)p. 193
The great seap. 193
Two Kwakiutl Women's Prayers (ca. 1895)p. 194
Prayer of a Woman in Charge of Berry Picking . . .p. 194
Prayer to the Sockeye Salmonp. 195
Owl Woman (mid-19th-early 20th c.)p. 196
How shall I begin my songp. 197
Brown owls come here in the blue eveningp. 197
Black Butte is farp. 197
The morning star is upp. 197
An Osage Woman's Initiation Song (early 20th c.)p. 198
Planting Initiation Songp. 198
A Traditional Navajo Prayer (early 20th c.)p. 199
Dark young pine, at the center of the earth originatingp. 200
H. D. (1886-1961)p. 201
White Worldp. 202
from The Walls Do Not Fall [25]p. 203
from The Walls Do Not Fall [36]p. 204
from Sagesse [10]p. 206
Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966)p. 207
Everything is plundered, betrayed, soldp. 208
A land not mine, stillp. 209
Summer Gardenp. 210
Gabriela Mistral (1889-1957)p. 211
from Prayerp. 212
The Rosep. 213
Those Who Do Not Dancep. 214
Songp. 215
Nelly Sachs (1891-1970)p. 216
How long have we forgotten how to listen!p. 217
Your eyes, O my belovedp. 219
Someonep. 220
Rushing at times like flamesp. 222
In the evening your vision widensp. 223
But perhaps God needs the longingp. 224
Edith Sodergran (1892-1923)p. 225
On Foot I Had to Walk Through the Solar Systemsp. 226
"There is no one . . ."p. 227
Forest Lakep. 228
Questionp. 229
Homecomingp. 230
Marina Tsvetaeva (1892-1941)p. 231
I know the truthp. 232
I bless the daily laborp. 233
If the soul was born with pinionsp. 234
God (3)p. 235
The gold that was my hair has turnedp. 236
Kadya Molodowsky (1894-1975)p. 237
Prayers: Ip. 238
Sub-ok (1902-1966)p. 239
Spring at Yesan Stationp. 239
A Note on the Translationsp. 241
For Further Readingp. 243
Acknowledgmentsp. 251
About the Editorp. 253
Alphabetical Index of Authorsp. 255
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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