jillypoet: mom trying to write

Each day I wish I had invented waterproof sticky notes (for shower inspiration) or pen-friendly diapers to get down all my quirky thoughts that I am sure are relevant and publishable. And so God (actually another writer-mommy) sent me The Blog.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Lean in close, let me tell you a tale


I wish I were close
To you as the wet skirt of
A salt girl to her body.
I think of you always.
Akahito c. 730 A.D.
from: One Hundred Poems From The Japanese
translated by Kenneth Rexroth

My son leans into my side
as close as an elm growing into a home.
His skinny arms push into my biceps
knead my muscles, stiffen my spine
as my feet root us to the ground.
Day after day, sun rise to moon rise,
reading books, scratching out the alphabet,
counting the stars on his bedroom ceiling,
leaning, always leaning, pushing near enough
to climb inside my bones and walk away.
They say it is a symptom.
They say his senses are off, incomplete, awry.
He is seeking sensory input, filling a void.
My son is a sapling, not suckling, but stretching.
I am the host tree, the rough barked mother tree,
coarse, uneven, irregular. I think of him always.
We will grow together, apart, together, apart
following the sun through a dense green canopy.
Until we part.
We will part.
Blistered bark will shatter.
Dry wood will split.
We will part. The forest would have it no other way.


Blogger gautami tripathy said...

"My son is a sapling, not suckling, but stretching.
I am the host tree, the rough barked mother tree,
coarse, uneven, irregular. I think of him always.."

Those lines are awesome. I enjoyed reading it very much! Thanks!

9:18 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

This is so touching and tender...I love the portrait of the little boy, but the knowing voice of the mother is astonishing.

9:30 PM  
Blogger Kimberley McGill said...

A tender poem, but also fiercely real. I love the lines:

"I am the host tree, the rough barked mother tree,
coarse, uneven, irregular."

And as I read; "Blistered bark will shatter. Dry wood will split" I felt inspired to write about that splitting, what happens after (my children are adults now, at least they act like adults MOST of the time :)) do you mind if i work on a kind of response poem to your piece?

10:15 PM  
Blogger tumblewords said...

This wonderful piece brings a hard swallow to my throat. The feelings you write are so known and so beautifully portrayed.

10:25 PM  
Blogger LJCohen said...

A strong image and a powerful poem. Thank you for this.

10:51 PM  
Blogger ...deb said...

"They say it is a symptom./ They say his senses are off, incomplete, awry."

I like the variety of perspectives you bring here; they don't water down the tenderness or anticipation.

12:10 AM  
Blogger Rethabile said...

"I am the host tree, the rough barked mother tree."

This is awesome here, sounds great when read out loud.

4:38 AM  
Blogger polka dot witch said...

moms make good trees.

or is it trees make good moms.

your affection for him is beautiful, as is your expression of it.

this makes me want to love my own kids more obviously. that makes me sound bad. oh, well. i said it. i meant it. maybe i should say instead, you've inspired to me to love them more purposefully, thoughtfully.

7:25 AM  
Blogger Jo said...

This is sensational....actually, thinking about it yes it is. The chosen imagery is so powerful, every word just right. Great, great job!

7:56 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

thanks for sharing this with us. couldn't stop reading

9:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a delight - a fine balance between tenderness & philosophical regret.

2:15 AM  
Blogger Angie Shultis said...

Beautiful -- it's so difficult to capture the complicated language of mother/child, but this is stark and honest. Love it.

PS: Incidentally, I'm tapping you for a meme to list your five greatest strengths as a writer! Cheers!

9:31 AM  
Blogger Bureau of Public Secrets said...

For those who may be interested, there are many more Rexroth poems and translations at http://www.bopsecrets.org/rexroth


1:58 PM  
Blogger Clare said...

The ending broke my heart with loss, with life and with truth -- I love how you said "the forest would have it no other way." What an incredibly beautiful and heartfelt poem -- I love it.

6:23 PM  
Blogger Pauline said...

such heartfelt beauty and heartrending truth in so few words

7:32 PM  
Blogger Gillian @ Indigo Blue said...

So you are a nurse log.
I get it.
Wonderful work!

10:18 PM  

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