Below is a poem written by one of our apprentices, Nora Ip. She wrote it for a ‘too hot to handle’ session we did at our church the other week. It’s a dramatic retelling of the Samaritan woman’s story from John’s gospel. I should probably put some kind of age restriction on it, but I’ll leave that to your discretion.

I think it’s a great piece of writing, so hope you enjoy!

A Samaritan woman.

A woman:
that’s all I am.
Lower;
lesser.
Unheard unless spoken to;
unseen unless demanded for;
unneeded unless annoyed with.

A Samaritan:
that’s what I am.
A half-breed; half-there;
never quite there;
not pure; not full.

And that’s how I feel.
How right I feel.
How fitting it is that I am who I am,
regarded what I am,
treated the way I am.

And I aggravate it;
I push to –
though not in order to –
see how far it all goes,
how far it can go.
And I think it should go much further;
it should all go much further.
Mistreatment is one thing; its ethical fallacy one thing.
But existence is another; the right to consider what’s right another.

How can I begin to judge what I experience,
what they put me through,
what the way of this world is,
when I can’t even begin to understand why I ever came about?

So I exist.
That’s what I do.
And the world retorts.
That’s what it does.
This is how it does.

And all I also do is comply.
That’s all the strength I find to do.
The world has its ideas,
its news and controversies.
It battles in passion;
it fights for glory;
it seems to live…
But I don’t relate to it;
I can’t feel it.

I’m just about me;
sustaining me.
That’s all I know,
and I despise it.
I can’t even do it properly;
I can barely keep with it.

In fact,
I don’t do it.
I do the opposite.
I try to live and
seize for self-preservation,
but what results
is self-devastation.
I devastate my own purposes.

And all I purpose for
is to live,
to feed,
to go on.
For some hope and glory that was never in fact mine,
or true…

This glory,
it’s ebbing.
Some idea;
some initial idea;
some initial lie.

Actually,
I don’t comply.
I mean,
I do
by continuing in this shell of irrelevance,
completely understanding why I –
at least I,
this Samaritan woman –
am worth ignoring.
I even embrace it.
This ‘worth’ the world clothes me with
excuses me from compliance;

I may be excused.
From the confines,
the boundaries,
the arbitrary social constraints in all its defined expectations.
That nobody explains:
they simply live with it,
impose it,
oppress with it,
advance by trampling…
using it to validate themselves.

But I have nothing to validate me.
But I have a plan.

The one moment in life that I
seem to be able to repeat
is the o rgasmic moment.
That climax when it becomes clear
that I can generate pleasure
that mirrors
the depth,
the power and
the roar of the ocean.

I am sated;
I am enthroned;
I am filled to every corner of my fleshly longing;
no hunger at any level stays untouched;
all is mine;
my all is glorious.
I can feel it all;
it is all I can feel.
It must then be all;
all there is.

And each man that has come
brings his own edge.
If he were mere food,
he gives a ‘kick’ that no other has matched.
They come.
Into my field of vision
that is my life.
And this!

This happens.
I am validated;
I am theirs and they are mine…
The s ex is the way there;
the path to epiphany.

Then,
reality settles,
as fatty sauce does when it’s cooled.

Then,
I am not always pleasant;
nor do I stay sated.
The glory has worn;
familiarity with it
brings further aspirations that
he cannot fulfil…

Soon, they do not even desire to fulfil.
Not me. Not anymore.
Though this has only ever been their means to their own
same end as mine.

Then.
I am a Samaritan woman.
And he is a man.
With all his rights,
his standing and
his honour
that he qualifies.
And he can leave.

The lie of the ‘epiphany’.

Nora Ip, 27 Nov. 07

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