@sleeplovegrow

This post comes from something I saw on @sleeplovegrow’s Instagram account.

She wrote, ‘It has taken some years to realise that every minute I spend with my kids is an opportunity – to teach, to learn, to love and to build a firm foundation that will help them one day build their own strong families’.

Even though my children are only small, sometimes I already feel sad about the thought of them growing up and leaving home. But I find some solace in this, imagining my children building their own families and the circle of life continuing.

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Alex O’Sullivan

From the nuanced and delicate short story by Alex O’Sullivan, Nothing for Dinner. I think she does a good job at capturing the experience of drudgery and importance motherhood can be. It’s really quite subtle. The following is a couple of little excerpts I’ve pulled out.

‘She felt like she was living in a kind of grey zone, the world had lost its sharpness of edges, everything was blurred…..She knew what people meant now when they talked about getting through something. Somehow, she had to get through this lifetime of dinners and dishes. In between the getting through was the filling in…..She felt like she was a stretched elastic band, unable to snap back. She had let the idea of a proper family stretch away from her. She had felt her husband pulling away, staying out later and later at the office, and she had just let him stretch the band, longer and longer until it could never snap back, and so he had gone. In a way she could understand it, if you had the chance to go, before you become a useless, broken rubber band like the person you are living with who has no energy for you anymore.’

The full story is published on Feminartsy, here.

Karen Haas-Howland No.2

                                           Gladiola Light
I wasn’t prepared for my face to fall full petal apart
after my screams                you cracked
the moon open                    smelling autumn                 I saw you
fall from me                         your face breaking             bud
from me                 deep rememberings
subtle loam                          three hundred thousand tears
before eve
there was a beautiful woman
now a baby                       warm within my arm
wide with gladiola light     skin sings
eyes speak                             fir trees
lids                          tremble heavy
fingers curl                             like fire
our mouths             howl like little ooo’s
the milk                 blossoms.

This is another snippet from Karen Haas-Howland’s incredible The Circular Journey of Poetry and Children (p15) (see last post for publication details). I have tried to keep the indentations true to the published version, and spacing everything out carefully myself made the words spring out with even more beauty and meaning.

Karen wrote this poem before she had any children, which I find incredible, as I see so much of myself as mother within its depths. Parts of myself I didn’t know before I had children. The following is what Karen writes in relation to this:

‘The poem came to me before Chloe was born. They say “write what you know” and there I was, a woman who had never experienced birth, writing about breaking full petal apart, and filling with milk like nectar by the second. In rare poetic moments, we transcend time and see into our past and our futures. Taken out of ourselves beyond the usual boundaries, we see ourselves. The poem came to me in one piece as if it were whispered in my ear.
After it finished itself, the name Chloe buzzed in my head like a bee whose legs are full of pollen. I followed that bee to its source, despite that fact that I had grad school to finish. I gave birth to Chloe on February first, almost two years to the day after I first birthed the poem.”

Karen Haas-Howland

The sentence above comes from the most exquisite piece of writing about pregnancy, giving birth and early motherhood by Karen Haas-Howland, ‘The Circular Journey of Poetry and Children’.

The following line reads: Plunging underneath everything I’d ever known informs my body of a rhythm which erupted when volcanoes first gave lava to the sea as fire leaped into our spine,  heat creating us out of salt and spark (p12).

Another paragraph I love: Stretching between the apple and pear tree in my back yard, the iambic pentameter of a hammock holds my body. Here. There. Near. Far. You. Me. Watching the delicious curve of pear flesh swell with light, I feel my belly and forget what I am exactly. In this sweet moment I could be a pear. Held in that metaphor, I merge, I draw my shape over and over invisibly in the air, connecting the pears with my finger, as my intricate shape shifts in the west wind, as the boundaries of things sweet, disappear. My body, my baby, my poetry: it’s all fruit waiting for reality to ripen it. I wait, I sway. We widen when we write (p9).

And yet another: When I enter the cave of labor, I want to be comfortable with the dark, dripping horror. I want to dip my hand in my own blood and draw on the wall the totem of mother bear. I don’t want to be pressed against a sterile field, flat on my back, feet in stirrups, spine and spirit numbed. I want to squat like an Aztec goddess spitting out obscenities a doctor would never tolerate. Who ever heard of a woman having a creative experience under fluorescent lights, surrounded by busy faces and metal forceps? I’ll have the baby at home in my place of power, where I write, work, cook, and make love (p11).

The whole piece is so beautiful that reading it made me cry several times. You can find it in ‘This Giving Birth: Pregnancy and Childbirth in American Women’s Writing’, edited by Julie Tharp and Susan MacCallum-Whitcomb, published by Popular Press in 2000.

 

Dixie Chicks

Lullaby by the Dixie Chicks is the best song I have heard yet about love for children. And such a sweet melody. You can listen here.

Why is there such a void in art about love for our children? The focus of music, film and art s so often entirely on romantic love. Romantic love is exciting but children love feels so much deeper.

This is probably my favourite verse:

They didn’t have you where I come from
Never knew the best was yet to come
Life began when I saw your face
And I hear your laugh like a serenade

And when I’m out and about with daughter, maybe at the park, or the library or the river, I often think about the line, ‘tomorrow there’ll be so much to do’, from this verse:

I slip in bed when you’re asleep
To hold you close and feel your breath on me
Tomorrow there’ll be so much to do
So tonight I’ll drift in a dream with you

Anita Patel

This is the second half of the poem, ‘We Meet’, by Anita Patel. It’s Published in Unborn Beauty, a Wombat Book edited by Rochelle Manners, 2008, p45.

This is the whole poem:

After this long waiting
we meet –
later I will notice
your bruised face
and recognise
the bumps of your knees
and elbows
I will count your fingers
and marvel at your toes –

Now there are only your eyes
(startled stars from another universe)
and mine reflected in them
shocked and elated
seeing you for the first time
and knowing you so completely.