I love poetry. It’s in the words that people open their hearts. I love how poets hide behind their prose, wanting to scream to the world how they feel and yet are too shy to face it plainly.
I was reading an old entry in one of my journals that had a poem I dedicated to Liani when she was a baby. Despite how sad I felt, the birth of my first-born was a pivotal moment for me. I truly believed that if I brought into the world a person that unconditionally loved me then I would feel better. Liani was tiny, three weeks early, a week before Christmas. Almost no pain and when I first set eyes on her she was the prettiest thing I’d ever seen. I couldn’t believe I could help bring into the world something so precious and beautiful. Her every being depended on me and I promised myself to be happy for her.
The Angel that Presided O’er my Birth
The Angel that presided o’er my birth
Said “Little creature, form’d of Joy and Mirth,
Go love without the help of any Thing on Earth.
Here’s a poem I wrote a few years before Liani was born:
It’s a constant,
The blue of the sky,
Its ever-changing shapes
That float by.
Don’t undermine the sky.
Beneath it’s heavenly mane
Ants walk around
On two long feet.
Crawling into boxes,
Roaming the dirt,
Clashing and crashing,
The soil turning red.
Leashed with chains
All wrong doings
Fixed with a tug
That’s how you got me babe.
I won’t even begin to try and remember what I was feeling. You can tell I was starting to conform to things. It wasn’t a pretty scene I’m sure.
The following poem reminds me of the day Naya was born. Liani came to see her new baby sister and that day, as I looked into my eldest’s face, I noticed how big her eyes were, as if they were drinking up the scene. She looked so grown to me and it made me proud and sad all at the same time.
Resting her on my chest like a sleeping cat
I cannot recall my older daughter so small and new
And fear the memory of this
Complete, absolute something will grow away
And fear the hand will never remember
Stroking her head as she nursed
Or fear I’ll forget her soft cry
When I look up from sleep and see you lift her,
4 am, the curtains blowing in and out of the window
as the whole house breathes.
Sometimes that feeling of love comes from our Father above. When I was young, I used to think that every time something bad happened to me it was because God had abandoned me. But Jesus tells us differently. I think Jesus was very poetic. He liked using stories and imagery so the crowd can understand Him. Every time I read this verse I’m reminded of a parent that has lost their child in a huge department store. They don’t stop searching until they find that lost child, no matter the cost or consequence.
What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying? If it turns out that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray. So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish.
The following poem I read when I was in high school. I was already a Gwendolyn Brooks fan, but this poem made my heart sink. It was so honest and open. At the time, I had never read anything like this before.
Abortions will not let you forget.
You remember the children you got that you did not get,
The damp small pulps with a little or with no hair,
The singers and workers that never handled the air.
You will never neglect or beat
Them, or silence or buy with a sweet.
You will never wind up the sucking-thumb
Or scuttle off ghosts that come.
You will never leave them, controlling your luscious sigh,
Return for a snack of them, with gobbling mother-eye.
I have heard in the voices of the wind the voices of my dim killed
I have contracted. I have eased
My dim dears at the breasts they could never suck.
I have said, Sweets, if I sinned, if I seized
And your lives from your unfinished reach,
If I stole your births and your names,
Your straight baby tears and your games,
Your stilted or lovely loves, your tumults, your marriages, aches,
and your deaths,
If I poisoned the beginnings of your breaths,
Believe that even in my deliberateness I was not deliberate.
Though why should I whine,
Whine that the crime was other than mine?--
Since anyhow you are dead.
Or rather, or instead,
You were never made.
But that too, I am afraid,
Is faulty: oh, what shall I say, how is the truth to be said?
You were born, you had body, you died.
It is just that you never giggled or planned or cried.
Believe me, I loved you all.
Believe me, I knew you, though faintly, and I loved, I loved you
Poems are rubber-band balls of emotions and feelings that are so strong and so very hard to explain. Poetry is imagery in words. It’s the heart’s song that has sung silently long enough.