|Amy's social media post that inspired Project Semicolon|
Strange as it sounds, I have been thinking about semicolons this past week. At Leigh's hospital chaplaincy, her cohort watched the film version of the play Wit by Margaret Edson. It just so happens I was involved in a staging of Wit while I was in college -- it's a beautiful and heart-wrenching piece of art.
|The cast and crew of Wit at Washington College in 2004 --|
that's baby-faced me on the bottom left
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more, Death thou shalt die.Some editors place a semicolon, rather than a comma, between "be no more" and "Death," a decision which E.M. considers a grave offense:
Nothing but a breath—a comma—separates life from life everlasting. It is very simple really. With the original punctuation restored, death is no longer something to act out on a stage, with exclamation points. It’s a comma, a pause. This way, the uncompromising way, one learns something from this poem, wouldn’t you say? Life, death. Soul, God. Past, present. Not insuperable barriers, not semicolons, just a comma.So. A comma - a bare breath - between life and death. Or a semi-colon - a sentence that could have ended, but didn't, that hovers somewhere between an end and a continuation.
Some days, I want to write a semi-colon on my arm.
Some days, it feels like a comma would be more accurate.
But then, another punctuation association slips, unbidden, into my head. For awhile now, the United Church of Christ has used a comma as a symbol for their "God is Still Speaking" campaign. Granted, it's church PR, which always has a bit of potential for cheesiness, but still. I like it. I like that comma:
|I mean, it beats "ReThink Church"|
The story continues.
I didn't know Amy, personally. But her story continues. Our story continues.
Love without end; amen, amen.