The prompts today were Praise and Fruit. I included some new words I have learned in the last couple of days, defined at the end of the poem. Today is the last day of Poem-a-Day. Now for editing, now for reading.
I Have Two Daughters: A Beltane Song (with gratitude to Eavan Boland for the first line) by Beth Weaver-Kreider
I have two daughters: Their names are Memory and Loss. Their names are Fearless and Anna. Their names are Wisdom and Fate.
I have two daughters: Their eyes are deep brown wells. Their faces are carved from jade and quartz. Their hands flutter like swallows when they dance.
Their names are Ylem and Horaios, seed under soil and the moment of bloom, potential and fruition, hope and beauty.
(My first living child arrived by the knife a year to the day after I began to bleed a lost land into nothingness. We named him for his grandfathers. The lost one lives in a garden with a name too complicated for written word.)
Their names are Nile and Susquehanna. Their eyes are the roots of continents. Their faces are made of water and song. Their hands sound like the wings of moths whispering against the screen door.
The fruit carries within it the singing potential of seed, of blossom, repetition of genes, like we all carry within us the child we have been, the daughters we are to ourselves, past and future. The seed is the death of the flower, and also the source of the tree. That which was will be again.
I have two daughters: Their names are Elizabeth and Praise. Their eyes are mystery and vortex. Their faces are the moon and Pleiades Their hands are wings of mist and cobweb.
(ylem: the primordial matter, the essence of beginning horaios: the beauty of rightness, the satisfying click when everything falls into place)
It’s not the clearest photo or the best composition, but you get the idea. Mama is on a nest. Stay away, coyotes and foxes and raccoons. May she and her nest be safe.
Some quotations for your day:
“When you teach your daughter, explicitly or by passive rejection, that she must ignore her outrage, that she must be kind and accepting to the point of not defending herself or other people, that she must not rock the boat for any reason, you are not strengthening her prosocial sense; you are damaging it—and the first person she will stop protecting is herself.” —Martha Stout
“I’ve seen women insist on cleaning everything in the house before they could sit down to write… and you know it’s a funny thing about housecleaning… it never comes to an end. Perfect way to stop a woman. A woman must be careful to not allow over-responsibility (or over-respectabilty) to steal her necessary creative rests, riffs, and raptures. She simply must put her foot down and say no to half of what she believes she “should” be doing. Art is not meant to be created in stolen moments only.”
―Clarissa Pinkola Estés
“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”
“In a world so torn apart by rivalry, anger, and hatred, we have the privileged vocation to be living signs of a love that can bridge all divisions and heal all wounds.” ―Henri J.M. Nouwen
My heart is moved by all I cannot save:
so much has been destroyed
I have to cast my lot with those
who age after age, perversely,
with no extraordinary power,
reconstitute the world.
“Sometimes when you think you are done, it is just the edge of beginning. Probably that’s why we decide we’re done. It’s getting too scary. We are touching down onto something real. It is beyond the point when you think you are done that often something strong comes out.” ―Natalie Goldberg
“The work of the eyes is done. Go now and do the heart-work on the images imprisoned within you.”
―Rainer Maria Rilke
“That story you writin’ just might save the world. That poem you throwin’ down, could end wars.” ―York Poet and Shining Woman Christine Lincoln
saw me and said,
I showed up,
Wipe your tears
and be silent.
I said, O Love
I am frightened,
But it’s not you.
Love said to me,
there is nothing that is not me,
“Be here. Let your wild self fly free.” ―The Crows
As I read the first line of Eavan Boland’s poem “The Lost Land,” I felt as though I knew exactly what the second line was going to be. I was almost shocked when I read her second line and saw that it was not what had happened in my own head. I think that means that I need to write my own “daughters” poem. I’m not sure where it will take me. I have been mulling different places to take it for a week or so now. If I can find a breath between the stacks of grading, I’ll try some exercises to shake it out. Here, for now, are the first two lines. The first is stolen from Eavan Boland, and the second is the compulsion line that forced itself out before I could read further in her poem.
I have two daughters.
Their names are Memory and Loss.
1. Autumn breezes. Thermal delight.
2. Breaking through.
4. Walking through the doorways.
May the waters flow free for all. May all people find safety. May we walk in Beauty.