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Poem for Mary

by Lionel E. Deimel



Mary, Mary, to some, contrary

To how the Church should grow—

Nor closeted, nor male, nor straight;

Why disrupt the status quo?


Mary, bane of Canterbury,

Whipping girl of “orthodox,”

Bishop for the forward-thinking;

For the rest, a paradox.


Mary, Mary commentary

Paints you as the Devil’s tool;

Yet, may you walk in Jesus’ path,

And honor God mid ridicule.




This is yet another of my poems on developments in The Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion. The Rev. Canon Mary Douglas Glasspool and the Rev. Diane Jardine Bruce were each elected suffragan bishop in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles. They were consecrated in a single ceremony on May 15, 2010.

Although Glasspool and Bruce are the first women bishops in the Diocese of Los Angeles, that is not why their consecration has occasioned special interest. Glasspool is the first partnered lesbian to become an Anglican Communion bishop. As of May 15, Gene Robinson is no longer the sole active homosexual bishop in the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church.

Glasspool’s consecration, I think, is a clear indication that The Episcopal Church is not going to retreat from its move to a more inclusive church, despite what elements of the Anglican Communion may think about it. It is now time for Bishop Glasspool to show that she can be a good bishop, not simply a lesbian bishop. I have no doubt that she will do that.

I had been wanting to write a poem for or about Mary Glasspool, but nothing much was coming to mind. On the day of Glasspool’s consecration, the first line of “Poem for Mary” came to me. I was, of course, inspired by the nursery rhyme:

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,

How does your garden grow?

With silver bells, and cockle shells,

And pretty maids all in a row.

Once I began writing, I finished the poem quickly, in time to post it on my blog before the consecration began in Long Beach, California.

— LED, 5/15/2010

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