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

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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

Overlooking a Cliff

Wonder by Alex Grey

I look into your fifteen-month eyes,
blue opals of swimming water.
In them my soul bathes herself.

Each day you bring countless
smiles to my lips.
Each day you push me to feel my edge.

Overlooking a cliff,
I have choices:
I can soar.
I can plummet.

In the first I find the sky. I face
life, enveloped in lightness. The blue air
tingles on my skin. I am present to each moment.

In the second I trudge in coarse gravel.
A weight pulls me down.
My patience is tried.
I feel sorry for myself.
I react impetuously.

Each day I witness the mystery
of your little body growing.
I see your uplifted hands,
the pink softness of your feet.

I secretly want to take small bites from you.
Maybe because you suck life, in milk
out of my body. Just nibbles.

I hear you forming new words. Each sound
a puzzle piece for the communication
forming between us.
Language, is another marvel.

I tend to you with tireless
limbs. I stay present
with all my strength.
Expanding waves ripple
from my heart.
A love so large it is
nameless.

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.

Gratitude Prayer

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Today is one of those sparkling sunny days that makes me feel slightly drunk on life.

It’s also the day before Thanksgiving. Selina and I went grocery shopping this morning. I thought to myself how crazy it was to attempt that the day before the major eating holiday. I also was a bit afraid: of the crowds, of doing this with her, managing stroller, cart, loads of food, etc. But it turned out to be a pleasant experience. I would even venture to say an adventure that we shared together. She ate slices of pear we had brought from home, and pointed at things making that guttural sound that all children who can’t yet yell “I want that”, make… a sound that used to frustrate me. Later we placed the food in the car and went first to the playground by the lake and afterward to the library. As soon as we got there she shouted: “Anna, Anna, Anna”. Anna is her doll, that my friend, by the same name, made for her. I looked around and all I saw was a humongous monkey sitting on top of the bookshelves. I think my child calls all dolls, including huge stuffed animals, Anna. That elicited an ear-stretching smile from my face.

It may be trite to feel an overwhelming dose of gratitude today, but that is the case with me. It hasn’t been an easy year, this first of being a mother. First, going through a difficult birth left me with longtime healing to do while I had an infant to take care of immediately and all the time. It’s only recently that things have begun to shift, to feel smoother, softer, less difficult. I realize how long physical and emotional healing can take. I notice how much being a parent heals me also from ancient wounds. It re-parents me.

I feel gratitude first and foremost for my daughter. She brings a smile to my face every day. She is the hardest and most beautiful thing I have ever been responsible for. There are simply no words for the sentiment I feel for her. Then to my husband Josh, who is always there for us, standing with integrity, compassion, and wisdom. Always. To my mother, Milena with her love and unflinching support. To my many friends, and teachers. To the rest of our family of blood lines and chosen. To my doctor who told me that I have the tools to stand my own ground. To refuse the omnipresent voice of stress, and worry that surrounds our time.

I choose to stand in the light and in the love. I move forward, even in these dark times, toward the solstice, knowing that the light shines within me.

In the words of poet Robert Frost:

The heart can think of no devotion
Greater than being shore to the ocean –
Holding the curve of one position,
Counting an endless repetition.

Violet

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Violet, I watch you come to life.
You open outward from a pearly,
bud. The motion of life written
in you, a spiraling, curling beauty;
always reminding me
of the mysteries that lie
in the sacred.

Yours isn’t the linear line dear
to Man and the rational mind.
It is the Mother’s way.
In you Nature shows
her hidden power.

I watch your majestic purple
unfolding over days. You move
as though a creature
asleep; curled in on yourself,
a timid child with rounded fists
hovering over her eyes.

You glisten. Your velvet stem
of emerald and magenta,
has grown fine hairs
that whisper against the light.

Each day you peer
out a bit further.
From your head a cup of leaves
unfurls to protect their golden,
inner treasure. Deep, royal violet,
fresh and cool. In them the thirst
of life moves visibly through veins
of love and hope.

I hear your music. The melody
sounds in my ear, singing
the beginning of renewed life.
In your presence I remain
in awe each day a little deeper.

The apple blossoms pink and white

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The apple blossoms pink and white.
We sit sprawled out on a blanket
that belonged to nonna in our backyard.
You are eight months old.
Your whole body is round and lovely.
You have soft full cheeks and the bluest of eyes.
You play busily, observing the world,
flowers, bees, branches, specks of dirt.

Interspersed into every action
are the looks you steal at me, furtive, gleeful, curious.
There are moments when you laugh
in short staccato ha-has,
your whole face puckered in an impish grin.
I am imbued by a love so wide and deep
words fail to paint its full picture.

I look at the apple blossoms, and wonder
whether we will have apples this year.
There is a serendipitous connection
between my fertile outburst and the trees’.
Life moves in mysterious ways.

You are holding up one of the pieces of the rainbow,
the yellow one, thrusting your arm
back and forth in happy motion.
I look at you, at my life.
I feel complete.