Marina Poydenot pronounces these words in a voice without clouds, an obviousness: “The sky speaks to all. Differently. In the eyes, in the ears, in the heart of this consecrated sister in the Chemin-Neuf community, heaven speaks a sensitive, inspiring, sometimes theological, always mysterious language.
A blue-black language, full of melancholy when in summer “the young night confides in the aging day a star’s confidence”, as she writes in a recent collection of poetry (1). “This mixture of light and darkness, this still intense color arouses in me a nostalgia, a strange desire. Like an attraction towards the familiar unknown, a country that I recognize without knowing it”, she specifies.
“And how will it be, then, when we go to heaven?” »
This celestial proximity has its roots in childhood, spent in Paris, within a family “which did not go to mass”. The young Marina attended a Catholic school but did not feel in her religious education the breath promised by the Gospel.
One day, blandly, she asks: “And how will it be, then, when we go to heaven?” Embarrassment of a priest, of a sister, who end up saying: “We don’t talk about these things, we don’t imagine them…” An answer that slams like a door and hurts the little girl.
This breath finally came through the window of his bedroom, which overlooks an interior courtyard and a majestic lime tree, the only pocket of nature in an environment shaped by man. “Some summer mornings, at four or five o’clock, a nightingale would land there and wake me up with its moving song. This presence from heaven nourished my soul in this city where I was suffocating. What was taught to me in catechism finally made sense. »
Heaven and Earth, two inseparable
Since then, the sky has done its work. The sky and the hardships of life – the death of the mother in the context of a family war – which left her on the edge of the void. “When I was 19, I tasted despair. Either I died, or I got out of it. The question of God then arose in a vital way”, confides Marina Poydenot, who, with hindsight, in her mid-fifties, reads in this ordeal “an experience of conversion”.
The next step is a degree in exegesis, obtained at the Pontifical Institute in Rome. The opportunity to check, if necessary, how much the sky and its emissaries, angels and birds, play a decisive role in the Bible. Moreover, from the first verse of Genesis, it is said that God creates Heaven and Earth, these two inseparable. “One does not go without the other, insists Marina Poydenot. Heaven is there to speak to us about Earth, as in the episode of Noah, where the dove holds the olive branch in its beak. »
“Even in the Apocalypse, continues the nun, the prophet says he sees a new heaven, a new earth. A sign of continuity: what is called Heaven is none other than the transfigured Earth, rid of sin”, she analyzes.
“A breath of fresh air, a space of freedom”
During her studies and then, in 2019, in a “creation for voice, video, dance and shadows” that she co-wrote and performed on stage, the one who created an ecumenical cultural center in Chartres magnifies the spiritual and poetic, almost sensual power, of the Song of Songs. Again, the sky is never far away. As in this verse where the lover exclaims: “Your eyes are doves. »
Marina Poydenot turns her back on “a certain Catholic piety presenting the sky in a disembodied way”. Her own sky is inhabited. It is not reduced to ethereal spheres but stretches to the ground, within human reach. “Like God, he is everywhere and yet leaves us free. A call for air, a space of freedom that opens the possibility of going towards the other. »
An expression. ” Open air “
“This expression reminds me of “the Open”, a word used in a famous poem by Rainer Maria Rilke and which appears to me both as a synonym for God and as a field of multiple possibilities. It strikes by its redundancy. Because what could be more open than the sky? Above all, it expresses with great truth the poetic, spiritual, human experience: life opens up to me and I must in return open myself to experience the joy of being alive, to taste its salt. »