For we are a sweet aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved
and among those who are perishing;
(vv. 15, 16 NET).
The Church said women should not
show their hair loose invoking lust.
Particularly, those crowned and gloried
with flame or cedar. Bonnets and veils
were most preferable until
the bishop decided that strands
braided and coiled around
each side of the head - might be deemed modest.
Having seen how garden snails
shrink into their shells
leaving themselves as skull caps
on leaf or stone,
he thought the look reticent, saintly.
Women soon began plaiting and planting
spirals over their ears
long before Princess Leia;
and one female wanting
more freedom, possession of herself
(maybe others), fixed her coiffure to accommodate
holy scripture. A clever twist on the text.
She bleached her hair light like raw muslin
and let it hang straight, parted
in the center. She perfumed her scalp
with sacred oil and said before the priest,
a young clerk aiding the bishop --
my hair is cloth that wipes wind and wound
with the scent of God. And if you like,
your lips with the taste
of what will keep you from perishing.