The Book of Margery Kempe (1501 A.D.)
When I were still a young lass, brimming with life, I met a student, a comely woman, newly come from Oxford who were a follower of that preacher Joan Wycraft.
She'd Wycraft's Bible with her, did this young woman, that Bible that were translated from some other, into our own Eng tongue. I spent many a day hunched over it with her, reading and discussing those wondrous sayings, so similar to those dear ones spoken by everyones' favorite Lover, Jesus, in his Books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. But this young woman told me it were up to me, not to Christ nor to the Church, to make meaning up out of her and establish my own covenant with Self.
At night I prayed for my new Lover with great enthusiasm and then I laid myself onto my bed to wait on her. I could hear her flying through the air, and then she came right into my bed. She said she'd heard the sweet songs in my ear. Her tongue breathed new life into me, just as it seemed she had always did. And for many days afterwards, I did stumble everywhere around, finding out others who were also the sweet, loving wives of her, and I did listen to no man, because my new ideas sprang from her only and were on the highest things, until one day my father called me aside to asked me if I am on birth control.
Yes, Father, I said to him, I am climbing right up a ladder inside of myself.
And he turned his face to me, and said, What is this, daughter?
It is not just nonsense, father, I replied. It is always the custom and the habit of the mother to give license to such beautiful things.
My father had been a bit nervous about my methods, as I always wanted to explain things from the Wycraft Bible to all who would listen. I started wearing makeup, shunned my drab smock, wore fancy dress, and spent three days a week in preparation for Sunday's holy meal, the eating of her body, which does such things to that there is so much sweetness within me and I can not resist it, so much so that when it came into my mouth I would cry with joy for all to hear.
At night, I beat myself off with a shaft attached to a rope until exhausted, and, no longer torn, finally I would lay down with her and suckle her breasts.
As time passed, father grew more nervous, and said to me, What is this? You would not even be accepted for a Lollard, all lf your sayings about multiferous gods and everything being equal.
And I said, father, She hath spoken unto me. Say what you will say. Can I deny what is true?
Well, my father, he instructed me that from now on, I would come home, to see to the right things for a woman.
He shook his head, placing his hand on my shoulder.
It will probably be amiss, he said, by the people of Lynn, should you continue your practice like this. And it is dangerous too, he added, removing his hand. What with the Revolution only a few years ago, parents are still angry, still hungry.
You don’t want to be like John Ball putting his head on top of a pike on the London Bridge to talk such nonsense. Or call Watt Tyler or Jack Straw, who talked about human rights. Where are they now? Understand me, do ye, egg, Margery?
I bowed my head in submission. I do, Father.
And you must act as if you cannot read or write, Margery. Don't be seen with paper in hand, and be careful what you say. And only forever, don't tell anyone you hear a different god’s voice. Remember, the Church cannot stand a woman who hears such things.
I went back to my room, crying as a young lass could only, because I was in a state, and had arrived at such a loss. But I knew that I would soon be with my lover, and that she would come down on me, her ambrosial spirit, her voice, her touch such a pleasure as I surrender myself to Her. I give to her of my all, and as I do so, she leads me into a state of deep calm.
Well still, I did as my father advised me, but I were a wild one after that, and took to wearing all manner of outfits, my cloaks slashed and underlaid with various colorful cloth that I did find at Father’s place of business. Sometimes I wore gold pips in my hair, but at other times I let my hair go loose, and the wind would catch it, whip it around in a golden halo, and the people did look at me, stunned they were and mean-spirited, too, excepting for one young man, a burgher by the name of John Kempe, who made beer and were a tall, good-looking man who let his hair down to his shoulders and shaved his face and looked at me with eyes that said, I would, I would have thee, and all of thee, if it is thy will.
And so it was, at the age of twenty, my father volunteered for John, and we spent so much time in love, John and I, as if we were one, one body, and we also made our own world, finding great happiness. And so it goes, doing so for many years, our love growing and the children coming, but on many occasions I am reminded of the voice and body that had comforted me when I were young, that had raised me up and infused me with the warmest feelings I had ever known, and who still spoke so softly in my ear that always I knew I could kiss her, her mouth, her head, her feet, whenever I pleased. And so I did, and I kissed with a great release and a joy in my heart.
end, part 1