Labor Poem for Us (Mary Oliver) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 12-27-2009, 02:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I was reading our DDC posts over the weekend, and Mama Agnieszka's name saga which has finally ended with the wonderful name Oliver Rilke, after Mary Oliver the poet, had me reading some of her wonderful poems yesterday. Here's a good one I found that seemed appropriate for all of us now:

The Turtle

breaks from the blue-black
skin of the water, dragging her shell
with its mossy scutes
across the shallows and through the rushes
and over the mudflats, to the uprise,
to the yellow sand,
to dig with her ungainly feet
a nest, and hunker there spewing
her white eggs down
into the darkness, and you think

of her patience, her fortitude,
her determination to complete
what she was born to do--
and you realize a greater thing--
she doesn't consider
what she was born to do.
She's only filled with an old blind wish.
It isn't even hers but came to her
in the rain or the soft wind,
which is a gate through which her life keeps walking.

She can't see
herself apart from the rest of the world
or the world from what she must do
every spring.
Crawling up the high hill,
luminous under the sand that has packed against her skin.
she doesn't dream
she knows
she is part of the pond she lives in,
the tall trees are her children,
the birds that swim above her
are tied to her by an unbreakable string.
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#2 of 10 Old 12-27-2009, 05:27 PM
 
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(happy tears)

thank you, aloya...

Agnieszka wife to Kevin, Kalina (Jan 7, 2005), Tosia (June 4, 2006) , and baby Emmett (Dec 27, 2009)
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#3 of 10 Old 12-27-2009, 05:32 PM
 
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Mary Oliver is one of my favorite poets as well. Thanks so much for sharing it!

Here is another "birth" poem that gets me every time, especially that last line...

Her First Calf
From - (1973)© by Wendell Berry

Her fate seizes her and brings her down.
She is heavy with it. It wrings her.
The great weight is heaved out of her.
It eases.

She moves into what she has become,
sure in her fate now
as a fish free in the current.
She turns to the calf who has broken
out of the womb’s water and its veil.

He breathes. She licks his wet hair.
He gathers his legs under him
and rises. He stands, and his legs
wobble. After the months
of his pursuit of her, now
they meet face to face.

From the beginnings of the world
His arrival and her welcome
have been prepared. They have always
known each other.
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#4 of 10 Old 12-29-2009, 12:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoSoxMama View Post
From the beginnings of the world
His arrival and her welcome
have been prepared. They have always
known each other.
That is just so sweet and lovely. It is amazing how watching the natural world can shed light onto human experiences, making it obvious how much a part of it we all are! Okay, now I'm looking out for appropriate post-birth poetry...
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#5 of 10 Old 01-04-2010, 05:59 PM
 
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I Wear My Stretchmarks Like Tattoos

to show

I am a woman

whose belly has billowed

a mainsail on a pirate ship

on its way to treasure

a queen-size-bed topsheet

on a new clothesline in March

they make

silver parentheses

around my freckled navel

tiny river tributaries

from the cold spring of my joy

pattern rising to the touch

like fired-rice-grain china

and oh

the way the sunlight catches

above my hipline skirts

when the music births itself again

and I start moving I start

moving and with my daughter

dance


Katharyn Howd Machan
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#6 of 10 Old 01-04-2010, 07:19 PM
 
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These poems are lovely!

A doula who married a cop & became a mama to 3 boys: G 12/22/00, my rainbow baby B 2/2/07 and L 2/10/10 my CBA2V baby, waiting for my little caboose late February 2013 & always remembering my two angels 2006 & 2012.

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#7 of 10 Old 01-04-2010, 09:22 PM
 
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Please keep them coming! I will try to think too...
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#8 of 10 Old 01-05-2010, 12:47 AM
 
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You know, I have been trying my best to find something to make me cry. Thanks, I needed that...

Mindy, mom to Harriet (b. 10/12/06) and Baby No. 2 (due 12/27/09)
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#9 of 10 Old 01-05-2010, 01:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Here's another Mary Oliver one, though this is appropriate for a joyful post-birth, too:

A Meeting

She steps into the dark swamp
where the long wait ends.

The secret slippery package
drops to the weeds.

She leans her long neck and tongues it
between breaths slack with exhaustion

and after a while it rises and becomes a creature
like her, but much smaller.

So now there are two. And they walk together
like a dream under the trees.

In early June, at the edge of a field
thick with pink and yellow flowers

I meet them.
I can only stare.

She is the most beautiful woman
I have ever seen.

Her child leaps among the flowers,
the blue of the sky falls over me

like silk, the flowers burn, and I want
to live my life all over again, to begin again,

to be utterly
wild.


(I'm not much obligatory interpretation, but I'm sure that last line has to be about breastfeeding...!)
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#10 of 10 Old 01-05-2010, 01:58 AM
 
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I actually have 2 poetry books that I bought that are all about birth and mothering. Funny thing is that I haven't read them much at all! Too close to home maybe.
Larisa
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