By Elizabeth Alexander
Read Online or Download The Light of the World: A Memoir (Pulitzer Prize in Letters: Biography Finalist) PDF
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Extra info for The Light of the World: A Memoir (Pulitzer Prize in Letters: Biography Finalist)
I run into Father Peter in complete meals, which moves me as a line in a shaggy dog story: a clergyman in a T-shirt and a Yankees cap is pushing a grocery cart in entire meals. “I notion God introduced you your food,” I say, and we laughed. He married us, christened either childrens, and preached Ficre’s soul to the opposite aspect in Saint Barbara church. He constantly made area for us as outsiders to the flock, as i used to be now not raised Orthodox, and Ficre was once a skeptic whose youth church-going was once part of the loved stories of his neighborhood upbringing, yet now not a non secular perform he wanted to proceed in maturity. Who used to be the saint who attracted birds? I ask Father Peter. He solutions, Saint Francis, who unfold his palms like wings and a flock of birds landed there, doves, larks, sparrows, and owls. A crowd accumulated and even though they spoke many various languages, all of them understood him. Saint Francis spoke Italian, yet all the listeners heard the Sermon of the Birds of their personal language. each one poultry repeated the phrases Saint Francis uttered, yet every one poultry spoke in a distinct language so every one listener might comprehend. convinced, I say, that’s correct, and that i inform him a narrative from our relations: in the future all of us went to the chickadee wooded area in Cape Cod. I wasn’t too excited; I’m a urban lady and don’t wish birds coming as regards to me. As we wended deeper into the woods, Simon without warning stood nonetheless at the path—he was once simply five—and stretched out his hands. Chickadees got here and lit far and wide him, on his fingers, on his shoulders, on his head. He stood very nonetheless and smiled, for what felt like a long time, and the birds chittered within the quiet wooden. Then I instructed Father Peter how Simon had defined heaven, having obvious his father there. Father Peter acknowledged, You and Ficre have been blessed to be artists who soak up the area that manner, and so your closeness used to be sanctified. And your kids have been blessed to have you ever as mom and dad. And your sons will continuously be blessed to have had their father. that would by no means swap. Then he acknowledged, Don’t ever permit an individual guilt-trip you, or tamper with what you recognize of your sacred love. We hug, and that i go away with no purchasing whatever, having bought the sermon I sincerely wanted. So what if I didn’t purchase meals, i assumed. We’ll consume cereal for dinner this night! i believe absolutely in ownership of dad Peter’s phrases. those that shimmer I repeat to myself: sacred love. Seventeen may perhaps ends with my 50th birthday. I’d desired to have a joint party with Ficre, a hundredth-birthday social gathering. In our New Haven local choked with outdated homes and intellectuals, humans occasionally have hundredth-birthday events for his or her homes, which feels very New England to me in a manner that we aren't. however the concept of our being 100 jointly used to be magic. I refuse to have my birthday. I’ll take a seat this one out, I repeat. yet Joanne insists, you need to have a birthday, and he or she and Amy make a small social gathering for me the place we dinner party of their domestic with our youngsters, my mom and dad, Mark, Tracy, and Alondra, dance difficult to the hip-hop songs the youngsters DJ, after which hearken to a dwell chanteuse sing songs that make the entire grown-ups cry.