Thursday, October 19, 2006


Thursday again and the idea was to spend time with poetry we avoid as readers and writers...I strolled through the bookstore and made my attempts at just that. The chosen poets? Two celebrities...I typically avoid musicians/actors who put out books because in my literary-indie way, I think of how many brilliant unknown poets toil away without recognition over their lives...the small presses who live on bread and water so they can deliver the word of a writer they believe in. Then, a celebrity writes a few words and it is marketed as the single most important tome of all time. A part of what I do is to review written word and discuss what I'm reading for this magazine. Writing matters to me. How things are marketed, shelved, and times, I worry over a world where Paris Hilton gets published and splashed across the bookstore display, while brilliant novels, poetry, and memoirs by unknowns are neatly tucked away to collect dust, not royalty checks.

So, I avoided these books once again...I am avoiding them now to write instead about my favorite up and coming poet who is celebrating her tenth birthday today, my Petunia Moon. It rained October 19, 1996 until an hour before her birth...then the sky broke open with splintered sunlight and she was here, making a mother out of a scared college-girl and her new husband. Giving me, suddenly, a reason for being here--something I'd always wondered me the purpose my aimless wandering through classes and books, parties and wild wine-drenched nights, had repeatedly failed to. Not long after her birth I read this poem:

Now That I am Forever with Child

How the days went
while you were blooming within me
I remember each upon each--
the swelling changed planes of my body

and how you first fluttered then jumped
and I thought it was my heart.

How the days wound down
and the turning of winter
I recall--you
growing heavy against the wind.
I thought--now her hands
are formed--her hair
has started to curl
now her teeth are done
now she sneezes.

Then the seed opened.
I bore you one morning
just before spring
my head rang like a fiery piston
my legs were towers between which
a new world was passing.

Since then
I can only distinguish
one thread within running hours
you--flowing through selves
toward You.

--Audre Lorde--

For me to condense what her birthday means to me...what mothering means to more than one blog post can hold. Indeed, this experience of being "forever with child" is, for me, the backbone of my creative work. I want to thank my daughter for giving me the gift of herself...

Once a week, we escape together from our to-do lists, homework, grading papers, commitments, to write together in a "secret cafe". Her work (some of which you can find here) cycles through periods of self-consciousness only to explode into a vast, untouched mind. Witnessing this process of hers, I recognize my own. She is growing, evolving, and "becoming"...on the page and off. These first ten years have been a blur of time--much too fast for me. She has moved from my body, to the circle of our arms, to the wider world. Now, I must stand back and watch her continue to cast off my well-crafted nets...and vanish into the blue.


Blogger madd said...

What can I say..beautiful, wonderful magic...thank you so much for sharing this treasure with us..m
p.s. i do so very much agree about so called celebs, esp Paris Hilton..pleaase just give ma a break!

11:35 AM  
Blogger Amber said...

That poem made my breathing slow, and made me feel calm. It is how I feel...

I am so touched and inspired by your relationship with your daughter, I have to tell you. I fight a lot of fear about the mother daughter relationship, you know? When I read about your relationship, the open love, the give and take, the total respect you have for her... It shows me what is possible. I am not so different from you, as a mother. G and I will have love like this. It can be. Thank you, even though you didn't even know you were giving me a gift. Thank you. ;)

And she is prolific. Period.


12:21 PM  
Blogger bb said...

Happy birthday Petunia - hope you have fabulous birthday celebrations!!!

And Delia - how similar our paths have been! Thank you for another delicious post - I drink it down like wine, toasting love to you and your family today x x x

12:21 PM  
Blogger pepektheassassin said...

I think being "forever with child" is an absolutely marvelous image! Once you are a mother, you ARE "forever with child," no matter how old you (or they) get! And I, too, agree about celeb books. Everything's about MONEY!

12:38 PM  
Blogger wendy said...

That last line...a mother of 2 teenage girls needs that last line.

1:19 PM  
Blogger ren.kat said...

Thank you for a beautiful post. Brings it all down to earth. What is evident of your relationship with your daughter is inspiring, too. (and "hi"- I'm new).

2:48 PM  
Blogger la vie en rose said...

i'm proud to call miss petunia a sister in the greater sense of sisterhood...there is nothing more amazing than knowing these young women are out there starting the journey, struggling to become just like i am...discovering more each day just like i am....learning about themselves and the world around them just like i sisters...

2:52 PM  
Blogger Deb R said...

I love that the two of you have creative dates together. What a time to treasure! And I love both your poem and Petunia's.

(And I SO agree about the whole celebrity thing. BAH!)

3:23 PM  
Blogger twilightspider said...

I've always wondered about the way that people say having a child changes your life completely - I still feel like I'm too young for such responsibility. But you showed me so much with the poem and with your own beautiful prose, you really made being a mother sound like the gift that I hope it would be.

And cherish your relationship with your daughter. Though I am grown and live far from my own mother, she is still my closest confidante and the most important person in the world to me. You will never lose Petunia, no matter how far away she is.

4:38 PM  
Blogger che said...

it is an incredible poem . i surely feli it . bravo !

5:17 PM  
Blogger b/sistersshoes said...

(10) Big Birthday Number

Happy Birthday Sweet poet to be

the poem brought back many wonderful sensations

fantastic post...again

XXX Darlene

7:07 PM  
Blogger deirdre said...

There's so much love for this child in your words and it touches my heart. I just saw part of program on PBS the other night about Audre Lorde. What an amazing woman. Her poetry is magnificent.

11:45 PM  
Blogger gkgirl said...

this was beatutiful
and sweet and so moving...
and that poem...
(paraphrasing) "the tower
of my legs a new world"

that line stopped me.

8:58 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

what an incredible poem, and what touching words you write about your mini-me. i hope she had a wonderful birthday! wow, ten years old - so grown up! i spent the evening with my goddaughter yesterday who is 11, and so i caught a glimpse of what Petunia might be like, a little girl who won't be little for much longer. and she has the biggest advantage on all her freinds and peers - YOU as her mum

4:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

friends, i mean friends! (i'm such a control freak anal perfectionsist, i had to correct the error)

4:03 PM  
Blogger Patry Francis said...

Whenever I need to smile and remember how good life is, I come here.

12:56 AM  
Anonymous acumamakiki said...

What an incredible poem. I loved the magic of it, loved how it captured the experience of having that internal communication so unique to mama and growing babe. I loved more than anything that special dialog we had, when my daughter was in my belly and because she was an early spring baby, this poem seemed like it was written for me. Thank you for posting this, I'm going to copy it down and place it in my journal.

12:50 PM  
Blogger b/sistersshoes said...

Just wanted to say

"have a great weekend!"


2:24 PM  
Blogger Laini Taylor said...

Love this poem -- I'd never read the whole thing, just a quotation excerpt from the beginning. Thanks for putting it up!

8:58 PM  
Blogger Ali la Loca said...

I think I shall come back and read your blog endlessly when I am a mother one day. What a beautiful way you express the connection of mother and child.

I was also very moved by your previous post about your sister. As an only child I suppose I am part watcher and part dancer...

2:47 AM  
Blogger Left-handed Trees... said...

Thank you ALL for your comments about my favorite poet...she remains quite prolific and I don't have any doubt whatsoever that you'll be able to find a book bearing her name on the shelves one day (hopefully shelved next to mine!)...

7:24 AM  

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