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Archive for the ‘Melinda Smith’ Category

This poem of Melinda Smith’s sets the two-faced coin of motherhood spinning. How it lands today or any day you do not know. Will you see the face of love or the flip-side, loss?  To give birth is to experience a joyous connection with the miracle of life. Yet to give birth is also to face an ocean of uncertainty. While motherhood is often presented as a flowery, sickly sweet confection the images and rhythm of this poem pounds home the uncertainty.

 

Wave after wave, the ocean counts the cost
by piling sheets of water on the sand.
I dreamt before your birth that you were lost.
I think I have begun to understand.

By piling sheets of water on the sand
the sea offers its body, slice by slice.
I think I have begun to understand.
I love you knowing sorrow is the price.

The sea offers its body, slice by slice,
heaving itself onto an empty beach.
I love you knowing sorrow is the price.
beach
I start a task whose end I’ll never reach.

Heaving itself onto an empty beach,
the sea still finds the energy to give.
I start a task whose end I’ll never reach.
I give you life, not knowing how you’ll live.

The sea still finds the energy to give.
I dreamt before your birth that you were lost.
I give you life, not knowing how you’ll live.
Wave after wave, the ocean counts the cost.

 

Melinda Smith

Photo of Melinda SmithPrize winning poet Melinda Smith is a widely published ACT poet. Her poems have appeared in Quadrant and The Canberra Times. This poem comes from her book Mapless in Underland , Ginninderra Press #mce_temp_url#

You can read more of Melinda’s poems on her  mull and fiddle blog#mce_temp_url#

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Melinda Smith’s poems cut to the bone. In this poem, Given, few words span a great black canyon in the soul. Yet this poem shimmers with hope and also sighs a promise.

 

Christmas is in the air.
You are given into my hands
out of the quietest, loneliest lands.
My trembling is all my prayer.

“Five Days Old” – Francis Webb

Given

Poolside baby showers
herald the summer pregnancies.
Sweat caresses swollen knees;
mothers tally labour hours;
giftwrap is everywhere.swing
Christmas is in the air.

But by the time you come
first frost has been and gone.
A long walk brings you on.
I howl ten hours, a dumb
animal shocked at pain’s demands.
You are given into my hands:

all downy with the smell
of love, my warm wise frog.
Then: eight months of the black dog.
I crawl back from cold hell
that no one understands
out of the quietest, loneliest lands.

Now you seem newly-made
or is it me, new-born?
Chill fog melts in the dawn
and now I am afraid
of how much I can care.
My trembling is all my prayer.


by Melinda Smith

 

Photo of Melinda SmithMelinda Smith is a widely published ACT poet. Her poems have appeared in Quadrant and The Canberra Times. ‘Given’ won the 2006 David Campbell Prize for best unpublished poem by an ACT poet. It was also shortlisted for the Rosemary Dobson Prize for best unpublished poem by an Australian poet. It was later published in Swings and Roundabouts (anthology by Random House NZ, May 2008). Lines from ‘Five Days Old’ quoted by permission from HarperCollins. You can read more of Melinda’s poems on her  mull and fiddle blog#mce_temp_url#

 

The pic comes from Shuttermeister photo stream #mce_temp_url#. This eerily empty photo reflects the early mood of the poem.

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when I lost you
my father-in-law planted a shrub.
yellow-flower
viburnum, he said.
it’ll flower this time every year.

when I lost you
my friend sent me a shawl.
pashmina, she said.
let it hug you sometimes.

when I lost you
the doctor gave me a tissue.
failed pregnancy, he said.
come back when you finish bleeding.

when I lost you
you gave me a strange farewell.
eleven weeks of food and love, you said.
it was all I needed.

by Melinda Smith


More of Melinda Smith’s Poems  #mce_temp_url#Photo of Melinda Smith

published in Quadrant November 2006 – Volume L Number 11

clipart: Haiku Heidi  #mce_temp_url#

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