Thursday, March 01, 2007


I caught this jay busy preparing materials for a new nest while I sat at my kitchen table preparing materials of my own for projects I have yet to craft a careful home for. A new month unfurling today and I gather my bits of straw and hopeful shards of bleached winter grass and wait for the season to shift. Sorting through old papers and mountains of manuscript pages, I stumbled across a silk-covered journal I filled with poems and prose pieces when I was first pregnant with my third child and into the months following her birth where I slid into a deep post-partum depression. I broke the sections by season and wrote a title, "Nesting: a mother's year", on the inside of the front cover. The pieces are raw and awkward in places, just like I was at that time--I sat reading them this morning wishing I could reach back through the years and tell myself that it all works out just fine, to have faith. The prompt this week at Poetry Thursday was to write a poem about something we found beautiful without naming names. Instead of following this exactly, I want to offer a March First poem from my "Nesting" journal. It was written on this date in 2004, when my youngest was eight months old and I was still recovering. Thinking back on this part of my life is bittersweet and yet perhaps the most beautiful. I cannot describe it, I cannot articulate it, I cannot name it--but I wrote through it every single day, following the breadcrumb trail of words out of the woods and into the light.

March 1, 2004
It has happened
Spring is awakening again
beneath the Earth
the root rot spines of hair
untangle for her
Eyelids part
Fingers unravel
mud-caked crocus bloom
fingernails raking
across the garden's bare back
the sullen jays
the brooding starlings
scream for sex
for mates
for family
before the next frost takes it
--all of it--
away again.
So it is with us
--all of us--
root and vine and
beak and blossom
and you and I
each in our longing
March month place.
Give me this
the sun
and nothing else.
Give me this
and I have
miles and miles
--cds, 2004--
My "Nesting" book ran from Winter 2003-Summer 2004, when my baby turned one and the ground was steady beneath my feet again. I still keep a mothering-type journal--in addition to the freewrite/sprinting one and the day-to-day word count and mundane rememberings one. Poems sometimes fall into it now and spill over into my freewriting notebook, but not in the volume they did during that year. Now, I concentrate on my fiction more--on imagined families and experiences not my own. I don't doubt that poetry had a profound impact on my ability to recover from that "nesting" year...the fluidity of form and saturated emotion suited where I was and helped me to make sense of my situation. I remember this "healing" quality now as I dig into my projects and gestate for a couple of weeks in preparation for an upcoming writer's conference. If my words seem a little scarce here, know that they're just being temporarily channeled into other places, waiting for the flowering time.


Anonymous acumamakiki said...

Wow D, I don't know what else to say. But as I walk on my weekly Finding Water outing this afternoon, your words will resonate as I try to find the shift myself. xoxo

12:12 PM  
Blogger Vanessa said...

You are such a joy to read.
The current you and now that you have shared a previous you, her too.
As Acumamakiki said, your words will resonate here...

12:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think i've shared with you before that we have the same initials, but i didn't know that you were also a mother of three. #3 nearly did me in. literally. so i understand that period you went through.

but this poem! wow! i love how you describe March as a month/place of "longing." and i love the lines that repeat "all of us," as though we must be reminded that we can't be separated ourselves from all the changes in the earth and the seasons.

i'm so glad you dug back into this journal!

1:40 PM  
Blogger Becoming Amethyst said...

Beautiful observations of the turning of Spring ~ but the lines that really speak to me are:

before the next frost takes it
--all of it--
away again.

...reminding me of my own experiences with my youngest, how I could see and appreciate his blooming on some level, but could never lose myself in it because of an impending sense of doom, that all that was blossoming around me was constantly threatened with decay, my dominant thoughts...

Bittersweet times captured with your magical pen.

love x x x x x

p.s. i'm waiting by the letterbox but still no letter :-(

3:36 PM  
Blogger Remiman said...

Even when you write about troubled times, you have a melodic sense of peaceful tranquility. I think because you heart feelings spill onto the page with abandon...without resevation, seemingly.

4:22 PM  
Blogger Natalie said...

Your writing has soothed me. It's wonderful to hear your reflections on Spring coming and life beginning, and the poem you posted mirrors this. I loved the parts of the poem 'all of us' and 'all of it'. It did really feel like Spring had arrived today.

5:16 PM  
Blogger Tammy said...

This was an awesome poem of a very special time. I wish I could sit and read the whole journal. You are such a talented lady!

6:02 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

this was a beautiful piece your introduction such a complement to the poem...I liked the line "wishing I could reach back through the year and tell myself that it all works out fine" I have looked back with these feelings too. I really enjoyed this.

11:15 PM  
Blogger daisies said...

your words as always give me pause as i bask in their beauty ... i am at a loss but thankful that you reached back into your journal, into the words that brought you here ...

12:21 AM  
Blogger Crafty Green Poet said...

Beautifully observed. Lovely idea to keep a Nesting Journal like that too.

7:31 AM  
Blogger Jessica said...

Wow, this poem (and the story behind it) is very powerful. The image of the "root rot spines of hair," is really lovely. Thanks for sharing this part of your life and the poem from it!

10:13 AM  
Blogger ...deb said...

Lovely melancholy-hope stirrings.

Reading the context was illuminating (though the poem stands on its own).

3:53 PM  
Blogger la vie en rose said...

beautiful words!

4:46 PM  
Blogger Clockworkchris said...

The poem was fantastic in itself but the story surrounding it sends shivers down my spine. That is why I write-not being pregnant-just because I need to do it so I can live. I find it interesting you think this is raw because it seems perfect. Now I wonder if I am "raw", but I doubt it. Very inspirational.

5:12 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

I love the lines "the root rot spines of hair/untangle for her". I just repotted some new plants and I had to unpot the old, dead ones. One especially had all these limp, stringy roots. Your words brought this image to me so freshly, I could smell the soil.

I recenlty lost my first pregnancy, stillborn at 7 months. My situation is much different than yours, but I do know a lot about depression too. Your story of ppd...I am so sorry you had to go through that. I hope each day seems more hopeful and possible for you.

10:45 PM  
Blogger Colorful Prose said...

I got the image of roots like nerve endings--coming out of a deep freeze. Motherhood is such an upheaval, and I think we only have the appreciation of how difficult it can be in retrospect.

10:25 AM  
Blogger Kim G. said...

I could feel you reaching for the hope of the season - the first signs of spring after the the darkness of winter. Really good. Thanks for sharing it.

2:25 AM  
Blogger Amber said...

Why am I not surprised at all that poems were so much a part of your healing? What a gift.

I have one journal of my mother's mother...It is filled with her thoughts and her doodles-- these ladies she would draw over and over. And what what so funny is that I had never seen hers before, but my mom and I do the same kinds of lady-doodles. It was so strange in a good way, to see that.

When I was reading this post and this poem, I was thinking what a rich gift your journal would be to your children. How it will tell them so much about you, maybe things they didn't know, but that that will help them realize how much they...belonged to you. Came from you. Meant to you.

And how brave you were.

ox :)

2:33 AM  
Blogger Laini Taylor said...

Delia, this poem is so beautiful! I'm so sorry you went through such a time, glad that words helped you find your way out of it.

10:31 PM  
Blogger jillypoet said...

the root rot spines of hair
untangle for her
Eyelids part
Fingers unravel
mud-caked crocus bloom
fingernails raking
across the garden's bare back

These lines are a beautiful metaphor for birth. root rot spines of hair just rolls off the tongue. I will never look at crocuses the same way again.

10:40 PM  

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