I had a dream of a woman.She was the archytypal bad girl.The mother of all ill.The progenitora of mysogyny, whose names are bywords for contempt. She was mighty and majestic in her rebellion and by it she conquered nations.In my dream she trampled me with rage and with revenge. Incensed in my wounds I rebelled against her authority and raged back with words, sharp as a scythe, brutal as a hammer. My justice was right. I posessed in my body and in my soul, a litany of her crimes. My grievances anounced a need of redress. And so I hammered the woman,hammered her down.And so I cut into her strenghth. By my righteous indignation, I made her bend low.The redress felt mighty good. Down and farther down did she embrace the ground until she seemed one with the brown earth. She and the soil did blend so well that I could recognize her no longer. So I called out to her. "What is your name?",I cried."Where have you gone?". She answered me as her sad face turned up to meet my own."I am Mary Wampanoughue",she whispered."I am your Mother. She rose disabled and bent. "Come",she said."Let us sojurn together".
We walked by a great river. I tried to help her but I could not. I had broken her back with my justice. I could not make her whole again.
Suddenly a Big Yellow Taxi appeared. "Here", I said. "Let us climb in here to travel. It will ease your pain." And so we did. From inside the taxi, I could see that Mary was pregnant. I shouted at the taxi driver to hurry up and take us to the hospital. There was a baby in this mother who was dying. "Hurry! Hurry!",I cried, but the Big Yellow Taxi was slow. It was I who had broken the back of this mother and prejudiced her child.I began to weep a heaving. "Please",I pleaded."I take back what I said". "I'm sorry"."I didn't mean to break you".But I could not undo the damage I had done.The Big Yellow Taxi didn't have enough power. The baby was not going to make it.I cried out to God for help. In desperation I made an ultimate supplication to save the life of the woman and her child.
Then a great eagle descended from the night sky, with striped wings outstretched under the firmament that seemed to move the stars.The great eagle lifted the Big Yellow Taxi up from the muddy road. Secure in it's sharp talons we flew as thunder cracked through bolts of fire. Windshield wipers furious,we could not see beyond the pounding rain, but I was not afraid. I knew somehow we were going to make it.Me,Mary Wampanogue,her baby and The Big Yellow Taxi.
There my sleep was broken and I awoke. "Mercy",I thought. "That was a dream of mercy". Insofar as we envision justice for all, the American Dream is animated by mercy. Without it,justice alone breaks us and poisons the land in it's turning. Our children's hope rests on our willingness to forgive and surrender our entitlements. No one wants their child to enter a Kindergarten of grudges. Everyone of us has a grievance and a wound some more deep and numerous than others.It is how we have determined to adress those grievances that makes us unique among nations. Americans are one nation from many. Many being the ancestral hatreds left behind to begin anew. How can a Pole coexist with a Russian ? An Irish with a Scot? A West African with a Spaniard ? An Arab with a Jew ? It happens here.Why? Because we bear mercy in our train that each new dawn is truly new.
*On my mother's side I am a descendant of Mary Wampanogue (Mary Sarah Covell) and James Covell of Martha's Vineyard. They were married in 1650.