The Sabbath of Mutual Respect

The Sabbath of Mutual Respect

Marge Piercy, Feminist author

In the natural year come two thanksgivings,

the harvest of summer and the harvest of fall,

two times when we eat and drink and remember our dead

under the golden basin of the moon of plenty


Abundance, Habondia, food for the winter,

too much now and survival later.  After

the plant bears, it dies into seed.

The blowing grasses nourish us, wheat

and corn and rye, millet and rice, oat

and barley and buckwheat, all the serviceable

grasses of the pasture that the cow grazes,

the lamb, the horse, the goat, the grasses

that quicken into meat and cheese and milk,

the humble necessary mute vegetable bees,

the armies of the grasses waving their

golden banners of ripe seed.

The sensual

round fruit that gleams with the sun

stored in its sweetness

The succulent

ephemera of the summer garden, bloodwarm

tomatoes, tender small squash, crisp

beans, the milky corn, the red peppers

exploding like cherry bombs in the mouth


We praise abundance by eating of it,

reveling in choice on a table set with roses

and lilies and phlox, zucchini and lettuce

and eggplant before the long winter

of root crops.

Fertility and choice

every row dug in spring means weeks

of labor.  Plant too much and the seedlings

choke in weeds as the warm rain soaks them.

The goddess of abundance Habondia is also

the spirit of labor and choice.

In another

life, dear sister, I too would bear six fat

children.  In another life, my sister, I too

would love another woman and raise one child

together as if that pushed from both our wombs.

In another life, sister, I too would dwell

solitary and splendid as a lighthouse on the rocks

or be born to mate for life like the faithful goose.

Praise all our choices.  Praise any woman

who chooses, and make safe her choice.


Habondia, Artemis, Cybele, Demeter, Ishtar,

Aphrodite, Au Set, Hecate, Themis, Lilith,

Thea, Gaia, Bridgit, The Great Grandmother of Us

All, Yemanja, Cerridwen, Freya, Corn Maiden,

Mawu, Amaterasu, Maires, Nut, Spider-Woman,

Neith, Au Zit, Hathor, Inanna, Shin Moo,

Diti, Arinna, Anath, Tiamat, Astoreth:

the names flesh out our histories, our choices,

our passions and what we will never embody

but pass by with respect.  When I consecrate

my body in the temple of our history,

when I pledge myself to remain empty

and clear for the voices coming through

I do not choose for you to lessen your choice.


Habondia, the real abundance, is the power

to say yes and to say no, to open

and to close, to take or to leave

and not to be taken by force or law

or fear or poverty or hunger.

To bear children or not to bear by choice

is holy.  To bear children unwanted

is to be used like a public sewer.

To be sterilized unchosen is to have

your heart cut out.  To love women

is holy and holy is the free love of men

and precious to live taking whichever comes

and precious to live unmated as a peachtree.


Praise the lives you did not choose.

They will heal you, tell your story, fight

for you.  You eat the bread of their labor.

You drink the wine of their joy.  I tell you

after I went under the surgeon’s knife

for the laparoscopy I felt like a trumpet

an Amazon was blowing sonorous charges on.

Then my womb learned to open on the full

moon with pain and my pleasure deepened

till my body shuddered like troubled water.

When my friend gave birth I held her in joy

as the child’s head thrust from her vagina

like the sun rising at dawn wet and red.


Praise our choices, sisters, for each doorway

open to us was taken by squads of fighting

women who paid years of trouble and struggle,

who paid their wombs, their sleep, their lives

that we might walk through these gates upright.

Doorways are sacred to women for we

are the doorways of life and we must choose

what comes in and what goes out.  Freedom

is our real abundance.






Embrace your world and make it be whatever you want.

Embrace your world and make it be whatever you want.