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The Birthing Dance

I saw this post go by on Facebook during the week and saved it to share, because it would make a nice mother blessing poem to share with a pregnant mama:

The Birthing Dance

Come to me, My Child
Secret longing of my inner heart
Breath of spirit
Wandering the cosmos

Choosing your next lifepath
Seeking sanctuary in my womb
Visions of you stir my dreams
Your gentle essence drifting inward
Merging into matter
Coming into consciousness
Birthing into being
Your tender wisdom speaks
The ancient knowledge
of a mother’s power
Our bodies grow together
Two as one
Turning round, in birthing dance
You lead me
Opening the circle corridor
Descending into unhindered ecstasy
Into my arms

If birth were a temple

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If birth were a temple


If birth were a temple
my body is religion, and this small form
twisting out of me,
is
prayer
my cries
reach birth’s vaulted
ceilings,
arching like my back over holy
waters,
crystal clear salt of amniotic
my womb–a blessing bowl
releases
her treasure.

–Nane Ariadne Jordan

I came across this beautiful poem in an anthology of prayers and readings called Talking to Goddess, edited by D’vorah Grenn.

Be the change

Spirit of my longing heart, help me to become a force of history. Like a drop of water let me merge and mingle in the currents of my particular time and situation and not hold back, but join what nurtures the earth and soaks the seeds of justice and peace. Let me be the flash point where the light begins to travel at great speed, igniting compassion, that others might see the power of goodness. Let me rush with the winds of change across the desolate plains of greed and selfish desire. Grant me the wisdom to know that the winds of eternal hope blow through my words and deeds. Let me join the sky with its watchful eye and be a witness to life affirmations wherever I see them. Give me the strength to say yes to even the smallest act of mercy. With these powers of earth, of light, of wind, of sky, I will change myself and become a gift of love and power to the story of humankind.
–Stephen Shick in Be the Change: Poems, Prayers, and Meditations for Peacemakers and Justice Seekers

As I clean out my desktop, files, and binders during my Facebook-off retreat, I’m uncovering many gems that I’ve saved to remember. This prayer above is one that I’m “saving” via this blog, rather than continue to store the paper on which it was written. I love prayers like this–written in broad, sweeping language that encompasses any manner of belief systems and that calls upon the natural world and our inherent sense of the mystery and magic of being alive with a sense of reverence and the sacred.

Right after typing this up, I came across a quote by Rachel Carson in Alexandra Stoddard’s Gracious Living in a New World: “What is the value of preserving and strengthening this sense of awe and wonder, this recognition of something beyond the boundaries of human existence? …Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.”

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Blessingway Poem: A Prayer for One Who Comes to Choose This Life

A Prayer for One Who Comes to Choose This Life

By Danelia Wild

May she know the welcome

of open arms and hearts

May she know she is loved

by many and by one

May she know the circle of friendship that gives

and receives love in all its forms

May she know and be known

in the heart of another

May she know the heart

that is this earth

reach for the stars and

call it home

And in the end

may she find everything

in her heart

and her heart

in everything

Last week I attended a blessingway for a friend who moved away last year. We didn’t know each other very well when she lived here, but thanks to Facebook, we’ve kept in touch and have bonded this year due to some personal experiences and commonalities. The poem above from the book Sisters Singing felt perfect to me to share with her. She has waited with such hope and love to meet her new daughter.

I also made her one of my polymer clay birth goddess sculptures. I purposely overbaked it to make the pigment more deeply colored. This goddess is holding a heart-shaped gem for love.

A Writer’s Prayer

I often use my blog as as a means of saving thoughts and ideas for “later” or for storing the ideas of other people for future reference or reflection. Sometimes I feel like it is silly to do this–why write a blog post that primarily consists of quotes that I want to remember or use in the future? Why not just trust that I can eventually go back to that book or article and re-find the good stuff then? I’ve often chided myself about it–don’t use your blog to “store” stuff, use it for original ideas. Quit writing short little posts and work on your books instead. And, more cruelly, don’t bother, no one cares. However, I’ve also realized that I don’t have the space in my life right now for the sustained concentration it would require for me to write my books. I have ideas for four of them. My miscarriage memoir is almost finished and I do plan to publish it this year, but the others are not and I’ve accepted that they won’t be likely to get any of my attention until my kids are older. I can barely find the time to write any articles lately, let alone books. But, then I realized that in a way, when I collect words and thoughts in my blog–whether just transcribed words from something that caught my attention, or fresh words of my own–I am working on my books. I’m preserving, collecting, storing, and refining ideas, words, memories, and thoughts, so that I will have a rich collection to mine when I’m ready to fully develop it. I might dismiss it as “just blogging” and some posts might just be short quotes from other writers, but I think there is good value to me in this collecting process after all.

From the anthology Sisters Singing, here is a quote from a longer poem called, A Writer’s Prayer, by Sarah Jones:

…The body of a writer
is a political action
with each swing of a letter
each truth written
the world is broken open,
a vein of truth exposed.
A writer’s prayer is for herself.
That she will hold to slowness
that she will hold to the beauty of a candle
that with the dirt and the grit of living under her nails,
she will write her body into language.

I write to remember. I write to share. I write to preserve. I write to collect. I write to store. I write for myself. I write for my children. I write for others. I write for perspective. I write to play my life’s music. I write because I just can’t help it.

Take Pictures

I’ve been thinking of one of my favorite poems today. Published some time ago in Mothering Magazine, it is called “Take Pictures” and is a poignant look at how fast it all goes.  The end gets me in my heart every time I read it:

“Holding tight to my neck, my son
trusts – he knows no other way – my touch lightly
dries his tears. I am his queen, his goddess, handily
his slave. Blink, it’s a photo again, a trick of the eye,

a frozen captive of time, paper, light and silver: my son
is a grown man: he drinks from his own hand.

Reader, I urge you,

spin slowly, take pictures, remember to laugh.” (emphasis mine).

Rainy Wedding

Wedding Day, 1998. Cake is a homemade cheesecake also made by Lynn 🙂

Today is our thirteenth wedding anniversary. We planned a lovely outdoor ceremony at Meramec Spring Park and this time thirteen years ago, it was pouring down rain. While we still got married outside (in the dirty old pavilion rather than by the Iron Works as we had imagined), our wedding site was actually evacuated later in the afternoon!

When we returned from our honeymoon in August, there was a copy of a newspaper article in our mailbox. Our family friend, Lynn, had a newspaper column at the time and she’d written this beautiful poem about our wedding day:

Rainy Wedding

by Lynn Saults

We cannot know what will bring perfection.
They had supposed that it would be a day
of exalted blue heights,
a tree-columned cathedral day
in the loftiest, most elegant
sapphire domed summer.

Sun blessing stone,
birds blessing sky
and in the gentle benevolence of that day
the bride and her ribboned maidens
would drift, pale and clear as flowers
toward the welcoming arms of her groom.

To wed in the blue and white
softness of a summer morning
would be perfection.

But the day hung like an iron bell
tolling rain, rain, rain
all down the metalled sky.
The stones stood dark and forbidding
as thunder upon the earth,
and all our tinseled plans
for a bright and delicate day
were washed away in gray cascades
above and below us.

Yet, there was another kind of beauty there:
Small boys slid like silver minnows
in that heavy green light between the trees.
Garlanded little girls yearned
toward the coming of the bride,
tugged at their mothers’ hands,
pulled at their mothers’ hearts
with the brevity of their innocence.
Family and friends gathered
and sheltering, made a chapel
of their bodies and faces and wishes.

There, in the unplanned darkness,
was unlooked for wonder,
joy beyond ornament,
song beyond instruments.

At last the bride came and like a white flame
blazed among her maidens,
in brilliance more stern and starlike
and vastly more magnificent
than the ribbons and confections
we had planned for that day.

She blessed us as she passed,
toward her waiting bridegroom
in the unadorned steadfastness of her love,
and in the wake of that radiance
we turned to one another,
a silent hymn of faces
now wet with more than rain,
having glimpsed in that lambent bride
the flaming sun heart of human love.
Small, fallible, mortal,
we could not have dreamt or designed such a day.

It was Perfection.

——-
I read this poem every year on our anniversary and it makes me cry every time! Before we got married, people would say things in semi-ominous tones like, “just wait. After you get married, everything changes.” We still laugh about this—nothing changed except for that it felt really fun to be married instead of just dating 🙂

I occasionally read articles that say things like, “marriage is lots of hard work” or, “parenting and marriage are both very, very tough.” I’ve truly never felt like our marriage was hard work. And, while I daily feel that parenting is tough and emotionally very complicated, I would never describe my relationship with my husband as “tough” or difficult in any way. I actually feel like he is my oasis of calm, peace, and love in what sometimes feels like lots of chaos. He is steady and even and I always feel as if I can be completely and totally real with him—there is no feeling or thought or experience that is too awful to share with him. He has seen the places where the “meat has been chewed off my bones” and he still says I’m the greatest person in the world. So, while it is fully possibly that being married to ME is tough—I’m pretty intense—being married to him is not. It is gentle and sweet and whole.

After the ceremony and before the rain re-started, we were able to get some pictures in front of the Iron Works after all.

Self-portrait taken on his birthday this year.