Sunday, January 8, 2012

I Tell Myself the Story: a poem


Birth by Neville Longmore
Birth by Neville Longmore


I Tell Myself the Story

She is no longer here to tell me the story of my birth
on my birthday but the birthday will come nevertheless —
quietly, inevitably — margin notes in the book of hours
that she and I no longer share. Shhh-it is
almost here again and I must tell myself the story
that is more her story than my own:
How she longed for a babe long and long, and
how unexpectedly, finally, she was expecting one.
I came into that quiet room silenced by nurses who 
stood motionless, in awe of her singular work of
Pain-and-Breathing, Breathing-into-Silence. Shhh, one
whispered then. Shhh, she is having one now! Shhhe
heard their voices from the wave she was surfing
as it swelled and crashed, then contracted back —
hissing in the book of hours that waves share
with the moon and moondance mothers
like mine, who rejected the fog of sleep on the
shore for her sacred Power-over-Pain. Shhhells —
some small as babies' ears, some large as wombs —
whished and hummed to the rhythm of her breathing,
rolling along the bottom of the sea. Fish the colors
of rainbows burst like bubbles in her mind.
Whales clicked and moaned on her behalf, while
she without sounds, with eyes closed in meditation,
she with wistful longing for long and long,
breathed me onto page one of our book of hours.

MLydiaM ~ January 2012 



Submitted for Poetics at dVerse Poets. This week we are asked by Sheila Moore to consider Onomato: "Write a poem using at least one onomatopoeia." 

Note: The book my mother read and used as her birth coach at age 35 was: 

.


26 comments:

Claudia said...

i LOVE this lydia...giving birth is so magical and you captured the magic..really... i would ever and ever suffer the pain again to be fully awake to breathe this little life into being... great job on the swelling, crashing, contracting...ahhh...felt..

Claudia said...

oh - and regarding your question..it was on the 5th...together with konrad adenauer and friedrich dürrenmatt..smiles

enjoy your birthday celebration tomorrow lydia..hope you're alrady baking cake for the guests...smiles

Brian Miller said...

what its your birthday tomorrow? nice...happy birthday...nice capture of birth...gosh when my oldest was born it was traumatic..and exciting...and...love what you did too with that one line making it stand out so...really well done...smiles.

Mary said...

Lydia, happy birthday. It is good that you can tell the story on your mother's behalf. This is a beautiful memory poem. My mother used to tell me the story of my birth too. I hope all mothers do this, but I wonder... The last four lines of your poem are beautiful.

mythopolis said...

Thus is wonderful Lydia. And happy birthday to you!!

ds said...

Lydia, this is gorgeous! I love the way "shh" carried all the way through (even when not emphasized), the swelling, crashing, contracting. So very present, this poem and as such, a gift. Thank you.

Happy Birthday!!

English Rider said...

Beautifully sculpted, multi-dimensional poem. I love the inclusion of the oceans' life giving force. Happy Birthday.

susan said...

What a beautiful portrayal of how you were given birth into this world. I also have a story my mother told me often but not nearly so poetic a version. Still, there are similarities.

Happy Birthday to you as you listen to her voice echoing in your heart.

Rob-bear said...

Always such captivating words in your poetry. And a challenging picture.

Happy birthday!

Sheila Moore said...

oh wow! all of the breath sounds were entrancing and that last line (breathed me onto page one of our book of hours) brought tears to my eyes. this is so beautiful - true poetry.

kez said...

really beautiful ....and any mother could identify with this ...brilliant thank you x

Erin Davis said...

What a wonderful use of onomotopoeia! I love the recognition here that our birth story is our mother's story and the connection that primal and magical connection we feel even after our mothers are gone. Thanks so much for this.

Mama Zen said...

What a beautiful write!

Wander said...

I am not going to wish you a happy birthday because you dont actually say when your birthday is, but I will say that I am mooved by this poem!

Heaven said...

I felt I was there in the room heaving and panting too. Love the personal touch here...

Happy special day to you ~

Cheers ~

Laurie Kolp said...

What a sweet memory on your birthday (hope it's great)! I love the repeat of the sh sound throughout.

Amber Lee said...

oh, so beautiful!

Lydia said...

Claudia~ Thank you for your sweet comments, and happy belated birthday. Konrad Adenauer and Friedrich Dürrenmattou share your day with fascinating people (I will admit to having to read the bio about the latter!). My day on the 9th is shared with Simone de Beauvoir, Richard Nixon, Joan Baez, and Kate Middleton (quite a stew of differences)!

Brian~ I so appreciate your sharing a bit about your son, and also the good wishes. Thanks.

Mary~ Thank you for your impressions of the poem and the back story we share. I wish all mothers shared such with their kids, but I doubt it is so.

mythopolis~ Thank you, friend, for the thoughts and wishes.

ds~ Your comments were so present, also, and meant a lot to me. My mom would have appreciated them too.

English Rider~ I love your description of the ocean! It is so true. And, in my case, it is where I returned my mother's ashes...

susan~ Ah, your last line just touched me so. Thank you for sharing these memories with me.

Rob-bear~ Thank you for mentioning the picture. I looked through pages of images that were lovely but not quite right. Then this one came on screen and it was the one. I would actually like to buy this piece.

Sheila~ Thank you for this meaningful prompt. I had no idea I would write about this connection with my mother, and would not have without having read your prompt post and sitting still with what came. You gave me a real gift: a thank you to my mother and I think she knows....

kez~ So pleased to have your visit and your kind comments. Thanks much.

Erin~ I have missed you and must say that it is truly special to have a comment from you for my birthday on Monday. I hope this means you are back to blogging. Again, I have missed so much your poetic voice in the blogosphere.
Thank you for your dear comments.

Mama Zen~ I am pleased you thought so. :)

Wander~ So glad you were moooved! I appreciate your comments (it's on the 9th).

Heaven~ Your meaningful comments much appreciated. Thank you for the good wishes, too.

Laurie Kolp~ Thank you. It's the wee hours into my birthday and I feel it will be a really good one this year.

Amber Lee~ Thank you, little one!

Phivos Nicolaides said...

I love it Lydia. I wish you by heart another great year of creativity and spirituality in your life. Happy New Year!!

Ostensible Truth said...

oh this was so well done! particularly liked - "in awe of her singular work of
Pain-and-Breathing" and "whished and hummed to the rhythm of her breathing,
rolling along the bottom of the sea. Fish the colors
of rainbows burst like bubbles" - great work here!

kj said...

awww lydia, this is so touching and so well written. so your mother delivered you pure and true.

i was memmerized reading every word. the breathing, the sea, her strength.

great writing lydia. i mean it.
love
kj

Muhammad Israr said...

well... we never think how we came into this world... a timely reminder for us .. :)

have a nice week ahead... :)

Lydia said...

Phivos~ What lovely wishes you sent me. Many thanks.

Ostensible Truth~ I really appreciate your comments telling me what phrases you liked best. It means a lot. Will be by to see you and everyone sometime this week, as I am behind with all the birthday-related activity. :)

kj~ You are super kind and I thank you for such encouraging comments. Thank you so much.

Muhammad Israr~ Mary (see comment above) and I speculated that probably not all mothers share the birth story with their children. So obviously not everyone knows that story!
I am behind in reading at others' blogs and will see you soon. In the meantime, have a great week.

Jose Maria said...

what a beautiful poem! even for a non-english speaker like me, some expressions or words are difficult to get but I captured the music and the poetry of it.

el caravanserai.blogspot.com

Lydia said...

Jose Maria~ It is the same for me when I read your poetry, as a non-Spanish speaker.....I understand "the music and the poetry" of them. I do wish I understood each word and phrase!

Indigo said...

Gorgeous imagery. I was enveloped in a sense of peace and spiritual ecstasy reading this dear friend. For despite the fierce pain, this is the culmination of what unfolds bringing a life into this world. Well done! (Hugs)Indigo

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