And Then All That Has Divided Us Will Merge.
I’ve written in previous posts about the power of poetry to console, heal, connect, and explain the unexplainable. This poem, ‘The Merger Poem,’ by Judy Chicago does exactly that. Plus, it gives me hope for a more just, equitable, and harmonious future. The refrain, And then, seems like an echoing timeline to me, announcing the events that are coming about to make this future possible. And I do believe they are coming about, with time. I first read about artist, author, and feminist Judy Chicago about a decade ago after stumbling upon this poem, originally written in conjuction with “The Dinner Party” exhibition.
The Merger Poem (The Dinner Party) by Judy Chicago
And then all that has divided us will merge
And then compassion will be wedded to power
And then softness will come to a world that is harsh and unkind
And then both men and women will be gentle
And then both women and men will be strong
And then no person will be subject to another’s will
And then all will be rich and free and varied
And then the greed of some will give way to the needs of many
And then all will share equally in the Earth’s abundance
And then all will care for the sick and the weak and the old
And then all will nourish the young
And then all will cherish life’s creatures
And then all will live in harmony with each other and the Earth
And then everywhere will be called Eden once again
Chicago embarked on her most well-known work, “The Dinner Party,” to honor women who have been misrepresented or left completely out of the history books. Her masterpiece is now in the permanent collection of the Brooklyn Museum. It took her five years and help from hundreds of volunteers to create. “The Dinner Party” consists of 39 place settings on a triangular table. Each place setting commemorates a historical or mythical female figure, such as artists, poets, goddesses, social activists, and writers. 999 Women of Achievement are also represented on the Heritage Floor that the table stands upon. I hope one day to visit this monumental memorial to the women who have gone before me and paved the way so that my journey has been a little easier. I hope to do the same for the women who follow me.
The initial drawing for Virginia Woolf’s setting.
From Chicago’s website:
For over five decades, Chicago has remained steadfast in her commitment to the power of art as a vehicle for intellectual transformation and social change and to women’s right to engage in the highest level of art production. As a result, she has become a symbol for people everywhere, known and respected as an artist, writer, teacher, feminist and humanist whose work and life are models for an enlarged definition of art, an expanded role for the artist, and women’s right to freedom of expression.
Read more about The Dinner Party and Judy Chicago here.
Anne Hutchison, an early beacon of civil liberty, equality, and religious freedom.
Both of these books are beautiful, informative, and most of all inspiring. All of the photos above were taken from these books from my personal library. As you can see, they are well-worn and have been used quite a bit. This brief blog post barely touches on the elaborate and exquisite beauty and importance of this project.
There is much more information on Judy Chicago’s excellent website.