Mother

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Mother is there at the beginning

Mother is who you came out of

Mother is food

Mother is sleep

Mother is love

Mother is the first teacher

Mother is nature

Mother is nurture

Mother Nature is Mother

Mother is who I need to separate from to become me

Mother has a wound

Mother is who’s wound I must heal

Mother is who I trust

Mother is who I roll my eyes to

Mother is almost always woman

Mother is taken for granted

Mother is who rejects me and I reject

Mother is who I feel smothered by

Mother is who I am

Mother and daughter

Daughter to my mother

Mother to my daughter

 

May I feel all the wounds

May I speak them

May I heal all the wounds

May I heal my mother wound

May we give back to all mothers

All women

May we give back to Mother Nature

May I give back to my mother

May I give a new future to my daughter

Mother is the beginning

The rhythm of breath

The strum of the heart

Of all that is me and isn’t me

Of unity and division

Mother is the beginning of love

I Open

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My heart is a sunflower.
I open to the light.
I take it in, turning to face my gift.
I stare at it in the face,
bouncing like a puppy
with sloppy big feet.
I breathe in and out.
I focus on the good,
leaving what doesn’t serve behind.
I watch. It goes through me
Like a wave. Colors changing
like the season. Some call it energy.
Breath. Life. Sunshine.
The golden thread of the victorious.
I know I am made in tiny bits
of all those things.
I see my shadow behind me
I salute it. (Although secretly sometimes
I’d rather it went away.)
I bend in the wind swaying.
Thankful I have roots.
My mind alights and soars.
I bring it back in
like a kite to center.
I hold it most lovingly.
I tell that little voice to shush.
Knowing it won’t be the last cry.
I want to hear the deep voice beyond.
It is the wind playing in the grasses.
The waves washing on the shore
The thunder beating in the skies.
It is the opening of a flower
The gaze of a child,
unquestioning, always there,
always changing.
It is time to go.
I fold myself into the night.
Bobbing to the pulse of the great beyond.

Your eyes keep me glued

Horse.jpgYour eyes keep me glued
The glue that holds the heart together
In the heart I recognize the source of breath
The breath is a bridge
The bridge between body and mind
The body walked down the rainbow till it found the threshold
The threshold between light and dark that marks life’s journey
The journey my feet walk on
My feet tell the story
The story is old
The old part is new
The new part is forgotten
I forget a little each day
The day isn’t long enough for my dreams
Each dream is a little world
The world is a small place
My place is where I am
I am a girl in a woman’s body
The woman in me is a mother
The mother in me is ancient
Ancient is my heart
My heart is in your eyes
Your eyes keep me glued

I sip mint tea and ponder

IMG_0743The day yields forth precious dewdrops
in the hour when all lie sleep.
I sit.
I sit and read.
I sit and write.
I sip mint and nettle tea slowly.
I let dark chocolate melt on my tongue
until it is only a reminiscence of itself.
I feel the tiredness behind my eyes.
I savor the delicious
silence around me.
In this time to be me for me.
I feel the radiance
of all the other versions of me.
I sip mint tea and ponder
the raindrops falling.

Autumnal Collage

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Let us go then you and I (1). You crawl onto my lap and pull me to you. I sit and stare at the November afternoon. Its grey seeps through me in sullen dampness. When the evening is spread out against the sky, (1) my mind travels back, sifting memories, words, poems. Outside golden yellow leaves hang in a sporadic and precarious dance against time. The wind is whistling through the now almost naked branches and the rain is gushing down in sheets.

We walk beneath the tree. You look up. Inquisitive. The tree’s black bark speaks out in stark contrast with the matte whiteness of the autumn sky. Large raindrops balance like bubblegum bubbles reaching the maximum of their capacity before they glisten and drop, on my hood. Patter, pat. You smile at the sound. You notice a dog walking toward us. You point at it.

I notice the coat of trodden leaves, summer’s release.
But why make so much of fragmentary blue,
in here and there a bird, or butterfly, or flower,
or wearing stone, or open eye? (2)

I notice the leaves now kneaded into a burgundy-brown mulch. I wonder if you notice them too. You like holding and twirling them. On the surface a few just fallen maple leaves, blood orange, saffron gold, lemon yellow create a pattern, almost a mosaic intaglio.

I find my heart going back to memories of summer. So many walks brought us down to the lake’s shore to bathe in its mermaid green coolness. We were inseparable during those heat-drenched days. You and me linked by the hip, the heart, the breast.
The heart can think of no devotion greater than being shore to the ocean—holding the curve of one position, counting an endless repetition. (3)

I think of these days with you. These first months turning into a year. I think of the intensity and the flow. The sublime beauty and the hardship. The lack of sleep. The aloneness, which is different from loneliness. I think of the absurdity that in our culture mothers are silos each one to her own, working just one in a home, doing the work that used to be shared by many hands, mouths, hearts.
For I am the first and the last. I am the honored one, and the scorned. I am the whore and the holy one. I am the wife and the virgin. I am the mother and the daughter, and every part of both. (4)

I miss that. The companionship, the help, the support of other women close by, living life together in an every day kind of way. Sharing tasks. Cooking, singing. The tapestry of our own stories.

Yet even in my own life there is a rhythm, a kind of silent meditation which happens each day, each month, that brings us together especially in those dark nights of rocking.
Watching the moon, at midnight, solitary, mid sky, I know myself completely, no part left out. (5)

Let us go then you and I. (1) You are calling as I write. Pulling me away from these words, jotted down, haphazard on the screen. My life becomes a mosaic of time, fitting in the missing pieces. Finding delicious short moments to write, in between other moments just as sweet with you, to sew together a few words into a fragmentary piece.
The gauge of a good poem is, the size of the love-bruise it leaves, on your neck. Or, the size of the love-bruise it can paint, on your brain. Or the size of the love-bruise it can weave into your soul. (6)

 

1. TS Eliot, from The Love song of J Alfred Prufrock
2. Fragmentary Blue, Robert Frost
3. Devotion, Robert Frost
4. Thunder: Perfect Mind, Gnostic Gospel, Nag Hammadi Library, Women in Praise of the Sacred
5. Izumi Shikibu, translated by Jane Hirschfield, Women in Praise of the Sacred
6. The Size of the Love-Bruise, Hafiz, Translated by Daniel Ladinsky in The Subject Tonight is Love

Sing into your light

 

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Sing into the deep December darkness.

Sing into your light.

Walk, one footstep at a time,

into your heart.

Feel the pulsing beat.

Know that you are alive.

Smile because it’s a gift.

Skip because deep down you

still are a child.

Look up, see the moon, the stars,

the forest, the mountains, and the ocean.

Thank them deeply: they are a part of you.

Embrace all of creation, every being,

every human, and animal.

Soothe your caustic tongue.

Walk deeper and past, out of anger.

Feel the love, the deep appreciation,

the belonging of one and all.

I think my heart and everything surrounding it has gotten bigger

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I cannot think of a day as a mother when I am not tired. When I don’t have some major overpowering worry or doubt that freezes me stiff, or seizes me in a bout of anxiety. Just yesterday, the baby came in on the babysitter’s back, her forehead leaning in, pressed into a wool coat. As she came up to look at me, I saw red and white clouds drifting across her countenance: a dance of splotchy spots. I assumed it was the pressure of raw wool on soft skin. Yet, four hours later, the marks were only redder, deeper, angrier. The baby looked flushed, and her innocence of what to me looked like some terrible disease, made her even more endearing. I fluttered into a chest paralyzing fear. What could this be? How could this have happened? All my questions had no good answers, except perhaps a reaction to kiwis. My mama soul ruffles into a protective swan, neck arching defiantly, wings outstretched.

I think my heart and everything surrounding it has gotten bigger. There is a fine-knit, and enhanced, cloud enveloping my being, my ears, my eyes, my sense of smell, and simply all my senses. They are all on their tiptoes alerting me of their surroundings while I pour myself into the role of mother and care for my young child.
Some days I wish I trusted my intuition more deeply though. For if I pay attention, it is there, within me all the time: an energy that only need be woken up carefully and paid heed to, like a special voodoo doll guiding me in my pocket.

I can hear through walls, and up stairwells, detecting even the faintest of sighs, cries, or sneezes. Through the stillness I am clued in to that particular silence that is foreboding of mischief or danger. Like the day I looked over while chopping carrots and saw the baby content sucking on the i-pad charger, with a look mixed of pride and innocence.

My heart is on high alert when an ambulance goes by, or someone raps loudly at the door, lest the baby be woken. I can see a wobbly foot leading to a fall, sense danger looming around the corner. I simply know when the baby is sick, or when she is in a good mood; when it’s time to go home and she has had too much of even a good thing.

Some days I pray to our angels to protect us. Some days I envision myself gently wrapped into the mantle of Mary. The indigo folds tucking me in warmly, while the golden leaf stars twinkle in the dome above my head. In her arms I rest like a lamb. Some days, I imagine —for lack of a better name—my mythological mother coming to me when I call upon her. I smile to her. She gives me strength. She knows how to support me. She listens me.

It is dream acts like these that allow me to move forward. Acknowledging the power of being alive, despite days on days of sleep deprivation. I move into the heart of being a mother. Each day a little deeper. It is the most important life lesson I have learned to date. It is a 24 hour-long meditation (just pause and press repeat each morning) involving patience, compassion, pure love.

Of course there are those moments when the thought of throwing in the towel lumbers across the screen of my mind. I see it coming like a freight train with no brakes. Then I hop off.
I see my baby trying, with every fiber of her being to stand up, holding on to our bookcase; the back of her downy head covered in fine blonde hair; her short arms flailing and waving, as her legs wobble, and she does a flamingo dance, aiming to hoist herself upward.

My thought abdicates. My heart, my widened mama’s soul, takes charge, sending all other sentinels to lunch. It fires me into a rosy love that extends to the outer posts of my existence.

The happiness I feel when I see Selina

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I feel so happy I could explode. (Sleep is a miracle that works wonders).
The happiness I feel when I see Selina:
Her nose scrunched up in a smile.
The light in her eyes.
Her expression of delight mixed with a touch of roguishness.
One hand pointing: “MMMM” (Gimme that) she shouts.
Back-a, BaBa, DaDa.
A dialogue in many acts.

We nestle and snuggle in the morning, after the long night.
We play and explore in the afternoon.
She splashes in the tub in the evening.
A wave of love connects it all together.
Her heart to mine.
A conversation that spins tapestries of meaning.

Connections woven by her imagination.
She pretends she is drinking from a cup.
The cup on her head becomes a hat.
Her left brain naming, labeling, compiles information, sounds, shapes.
A bus pulling up and lumbering to a halt.
An ambulance wailing by.
A motorcycle puttering.
A plane flying overhead.
Crows cawing.
The bark of a dog in the distance.
Her right brain sings and wallops back to the left in exultation and recognition.
It layers longing, imagination, fondness, attachment, sense of self, and other.

She is beginning to speak. In English and Italian.
She says “No, no Numa, when our cat, Numa, scratches the couch.
“Adie” (for Grazie) when she hands me the cat’s bowl to wash.
Mama, Daddy, Bye, Bow, Ba(ll), (D)Ow (Ciao). Baby.
She sees a flower.
A bee.
A butterfly.
She smells the lavender and rosemary in our garden.
She is careful not to pull flowers off their stem.
She learns to climb the stairs in both directions.
She sucks the butter and jam off her tiny pieces of toast discarding the rest.
She devours salmon skin.
It’s her favorite thing it seems.

She follows and lopes after me whenever I come home.
She makes the milk sign and indicates her favorite chair to sit in.
When I see her my heart leaps.
I melt.
In love.

The Sun Shines Yellow in my Soul

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The smell of crushed mint leaves lingers
on my fingers, mixing with sweat
and heat. It’s the heart of summer.
Full moon: one lunar year since
you, my baby, were born.

The sun is beating relentlessly, turning
the grass to burnt gold; the earth a fine powder.
Pine needles crackle under my soles.
The dry air redolent of blackberries, spruce and dust.
There isn’t one cloud above. It hasn’t
rained in months. Trees are dying
in the dry summer heat.
Forests to the east of us are on fire.

You and I are inseparable companions. As I carry you,
sweat pours down my skin bin droplets and streams.
I sing, you coo, and point. One finger
extended from a pink hand. Your face in the shade
of your white sun hat. The sky is so blue it hurts.
My toes painted yellow
like ten winking dandelions. Cut off jeans
any shorter would be a bikini bottom.
Hair tumbling in a waterfall down my spine.

Each day brings us to the lake to get in the water.
We feel its mermaid coolness on our skin:
blue-green with mossy branches on its bottom,
algae afloat, willows stooping over it.
You splash and shout with glee, as I lift you in the air,
and back in the water. Ducks swim
and dive under. A dog barks in the distance.
The sun shines yellow in my soul