Ode to Mary Dyer

Part of the Pilgrimage Summer 2013 Series


Mary, Oh Mary,
here your statue sits.
So calmly,
hands together in your lap,
as if open to receive.


Your head is bowed slightly,
face softened.

Both feet planted firmly on the floor,
back straight on the bench.


I wonder.
Maybe you’re sitting in
Quaker Worship,
waiting in silence for the Spirit to move.

You look so calm and peaceful.

I wonder.
Is this how you looked when
they taunted you and tortured you?
Was your face full of such grace
when your fellow Christians
persecuted you
because your spirit-filled Quaker ways
didn’t fit their Puritan sensibilities?

Oh, Mary.
You loved as a martyr.
You kept showing up.
When they kicked you out of Boston,
when they jailed you,
persecuted you
When they hung you in the square.

You put liberty of truth above your life.
You moved from white martyr,
to green,
to red,
with your blood.

We look to you.
Your face that has become so familiar,
as it sits on campus back in Indiana,
in front of Stout Meeting house.

I’ve looked at your slightly lowered eyes
and lowered mine as I sit.
I’ve looked to you as a feminine example,
a faith leader to follow and emulate.

But Mary, Oh Mary.
Seeing you here in Boston,
flanking the State House,
across from the memorials,
I remember.


You, Oh Mary,
you stood for truth and faith
in ways that I only want to read about
in history books.
When you were persecuted
by the moralistic fundamentalists
within your religious tradition–
you stood up.
You spoke.

When you were jailed and silenced,
you leaned into the silence,
gained strength and courage
and stood up
and spoke

Your hands gently cupped to receive,
the same hands that grasped and fought for justice.

Your eyes lowered,
The ones that flashed and sparkled
as you proclaimed uncomfortable truth.

Your feed firmly planted,
stood your ground,
walked many miles,
kept showing up,
emerging from the Silence,
witness for the Light.