Remembering Elizabeth Gips

May 28, 2001

"Everything is a piece of a circle--
but there must also be doors in it.
Nothing stands by itself." says Deena Metzger

When I saw you last night, you were magnificent.
Bedecked in Chinese silk, bright red, wedding clothes.
Your head wrapped round with red wool shawl.
Your feet in clean white anklets, cute black Tai Chi slippers,
like little girl Mary Janes.
Your face luminous, wrinkle free.
A perfect pink rose held by delicate hands at your hara.
Rose petals strewn around you;
power objects, Tibetan thankas, amulets grace the headboard.
Hebrew Union Prayerbook, Green Tara, hippie patchwork shirt
holding places of honor.
Flowers, candles, great goodwill hanging in the ethers.
You have made your passage.
The Ultimate Trip.

For months now we have prepared ourselves.
We who sat in sacred circle with you, shared enchanted cookies,
listened to your inimitable voice --
provocative, compassionate, teasing, truth seeking, bullshit detecting.
We who ran into you at a party, a gathering, the Farmer's Market,
walking downtown with beloved Paddy at your side --
always a presence to behold, an energy to be reckoned with,
a spirit far more willing than your breath and body could contain.

You have transited through the door --
accompanied by Buddhist chanting, Jewish, Pagan, Christian prayer & song,
serenades outside your bedroom window,
& vigils of adoring beloveds & admirers --
from Santa Cruz, through cyberspace, and across the vast cosmos.

You, who's doorway out encompassed years of struggling for breath,
weeks of hospital stays,
months & swarms of loving home caregivers,
email updates to countless multitudes.
And in your final days, when the breaths you had labored long & hard for
became tiny, minimal --
just enough to let the spectacle run itself down . . .
you midwived out.

Did the door open for you?
Did you see the shaft of light & go toward it?
Did you open it with intention & readiness?

Via con Dios, Elizabeth -- coyote trickster, evolutionary crone,
Holy Hemp Sister, sassy little Betty grown wise beyond lifetimes.

You lay there 'in state' . . . like spiritual royalty, holding radiant court.
Bones & flesh & hair & Chinese silk & crystals soon to be incinerated.
You, who were the door for so many.

Gate Gate Parasam Gate
Gone Gone To The Other Shore
Through The Door
Bodhi Swaha

Marigold Fine

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