On New Birth
I remember. Forgetting is not an option. And if it was, I would choose to recall every fragment of the story. Remembering and forgetting sit with mystery and paint the canvas of today. The brushstrokes of tomorrow hold wet paint of waiting. And the fragments’ fragments, I would recall each one.
We are marked as mother’s by the ways we bring life into the world. The ways. There are many. Laboring for years of a life changes perspective. Like tears on a page, the lines blur after being soaked by saline droplets racing down rivulets over cheekbones and around earlobes. Salt enhances flavor. Every memory is tinged with vivid recollection. The tear catchers can tell of what they witnessed. They held hope and joy and pain in equal measure.
And seeing life through the lens of infertility becomes a lens for seeing the world. Because the waits and pauses and hold on’s feel again like that. Pregnant pauses weigh us heavy with wonder. The question that shouts from the heart is why. Why slow down or shackle? Why hold back on life and gift and art and the birthing of new. Wrestling and wrangling possibility, I remember what I forgot. Perfect timing demands time. It is the wellspring, the life source, the fountain of new birth.
This thing about new birth and creation and creative birthing? It is constant. It comes. It walks in the door, it comes through the womb, it bursts forth from the soil and it erupts from the limbs of the pecan tree. And this other thing, its Irish twin is the mystery of when. In waiting on the birth of a creative project, I feel mystery in the infertility of now. Now feels pressed with wait. Now is held by the weight of wait. When is held by mystery.
So I adopt a posture of certainty. It comes in part from the trail of fat bread crumbs on the path of before. I am sure of the sureness. I am at peace with the pause. I am attending the beauty of the mysteries of but when. Because faith and hope and love are in the soil. And that is all I know. They are in the soil of the tree, the soil of the garden and the soul of me.
And when I forget, I come back to this. I am certain of the certainty of new birth. And I am certain of the power of a tear.
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peace and grace to you,
This season of Lent is carrying me to the garden.
We walk together to the sermon by the lettuces.
(The royal we unless you count the coal black English Cocker puppy, faithful by my side)
The figs preach a brief homily as I pass by, one of unflinching hope. It is a taunting message. Their green shoots and leaves trajectory seems sure. June is a garden’s lifetime away and yet they already are. Mine own growth seems fifty fifty at best.
Yesterday’s sermon soaked me good. I can’t shake the message or the feeling of kneeling wobbly on a bed of sweet conviction.
Even the baby limes the size of a quarter of a cracked open pistachio whisper something new. They grow, slow and steady, without reciting the Ten Commandments, praying the Prayer of Confession or being drenched by a thirst quenching sermon that leaves you parched for change.
All creatures great and small are headed toward re-birth. My own feels questionable, less certain. And the homestretch between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday feels inadequate for my growth.
Not enough time to pick up speed, bear something tangible, edible and fully formed.
The garden, seated behind the lectern listens well. Responds in love.
I want to be the zinnia seed, the radish seed, the one buried in a rich soil of nearer certainty. Of nearer my God to thee. Tucked into the bed by hands who know that giving up and letting go bring more life to life.
That poetry is best heard in the slowness.
And that beauty is tucked in the bed with the beets.
The garden raises its instruments of praise. And a sings an early Easter song of hope and grace. My song is not quite ready. My time has not yet come.
And I remain. Toes buried in the soil. Rooted at the foot of the Preacher. If only I could hear the words. Those written just for me. I seek to hear, even to read the lips would suffice.
So I remain. Seated in the wooden pew. As close to the choir as I can get. Preparing with those who will sing an Easter hymn.
A hallelujah flowered song of praise, rising up in billowy breath from the mouth of the truly changed one.
The Blackbird Stole My Poetry And Other Lame Excuses
I dreamed once in a daydream, not resting under indigo back-lit sky.The scarlet winged blackbird came to visit me. An awakening. Unwelcome.Unannounced. The visit was a robbery of unfinished words, my art.
Every poem left abandoned, in embryonic stages, wet ink pen lying in repose, by the paper’s side, was carried off by my feathered enemy. Fowl dressed in red and black. Colors of his uniform for war. And I, my own worst enemy.
I cannot blame him. For abandoned art remains fair game.
I cannot hold him to account. He saw that I was sleeping, not attending to my work.
But I must thank him, properly. For while he could have released them, into a angry wind. He chose instead to drop them off for me to start again.
The shreds of paper would have served him to line his feathery nest. But instead they floated back to earth in billowing down-currents and landed by my right side.
The blackbird gives a second chance. Waking me from sleep. In gratitude I offered him a seat. We’re here now beak to cheek sitting in soft repose. At my windowsill. He no longer dressed for war, but in tones of of papal royalty. Restorer of the second chance.
I dreamed once in a daydream. I found again lost poetry.
Eight lost, some stillborn
Others born, still lost
Sons and daughters of Willow
One remains or so we believe
Alpha and the in-between-ones
Are all gone
Our deposit has not been sent
Hope is a currency all its very own
We are uncovering poetry
It’s what remains now
Well into her eighties
Grief grinds its way through
Those of us remaining
She deposited words
Like shiny gold coins
Into the safest of places
Poetry, her currency
Page after aging, age-less page
Reveal what Agnes’ life did not
Distance and years
Wedges like a bank vault wall
Kept me at bay
She never knew that mother penned
“For Elizabeth our aspiring poet”
On the inside of Oliver’s “Evidence”
Surprise would have attended us both
That pens are passed into spheres of
And just after we grieved for a good long while
The gone-ness grew
The place where the mind comes back from a long hiatus into dementia
Just to hear “I loved you”
Omega was the last
Black English Cocker puppy
A sign that one of nine
A sign of hope
At eight weeks
Omega, should she live
(Meg for short)
Comes to live with us
Eight others rest in peace
Epiphanies born from death
Poetic embalming of her secrets
Beauty birthed on every page
Life revealed in death
I cannot crown my favorite line of hers
(It may take a lifetime of catching up to dog-ear my favorite page)
Alpha and omega
And poetry in the in-between’s
She rests in peace
I wrestle with regret and grief
She wrestled with life
And turned it into poetry