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Archive for the ‘BIRTH & CONCEPTION’ 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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This poem captures the troubled reality for many couples trying to conceive today. The power of this poem hinges on what is not said. The poem simply embraces the getting on with reproduction business. But the final line speaks a truth all intending parents need to read.

If only the couple

desperate for a child,

their bedside a litter

of centimetre squares,

a silver-veined stamen

schlucked under her tonguesad couple

before the cock

can crow each day,

slow seep of albumen

from the cracked purse

of her eggs

precipitating

the sloughing off

of jeans and knickers

and sudden drop

to coitus don’t interruptus

anywhere

anytime,

and immediate hoick

of hips overhead

(isn’t it lucky

it’s not salmon

she’s nurturing?)

 

could take their eyes

off the prize

and laugh. 

Louise Nicholas

Louise Nicholas is an Adelaide poet. She has been widely published and she is active in many poetry groups including Friendly Street Poets.  

womanspeak140px

Louise recently co-authored a poetry book with Jude Aquilina titled:

Woman Speak published by Wakefield Press. Copies can be purchased through the publisher’s website:  #mce_temp_url#.

B&w pic : webpub on flickr

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This poem by Suzanne Edgar speaks with brutal honesty about the dust-bowl dimensions of the inner lives of many from previous generations in Australia. Life was tough. They survived. But often at a great cost. This poem stands in stark contrast to the overt sexuality of the painted lady whose seductive picture appears on the cover of Suzanne’s book of the same name. 

I want no more

children, Walter,

my grandmother said

after her third was born.

And he never

touched me again

my dear,

from that day to this.

Thirty years without touching.

Not even looking.

Featherbed and flannelette,

living by the rules

of the Rotary wheel.farm wife roots66ny

Mysterious times of silence

in the small, dank bathroom

behind a locked door.

His daughters were seen

but not heard by Walter McVey    

who dried on the vine

like the muscatel grapes

he grew but never ate.

And Grandma laughed,

My dear, she said,

I never gave it a thought.

Suzanne Edgar


 

 

 

 

Suzanne Edgar’s most recent book is The Painted Lady available now in:SE book
 the bookshop of the National Library of Aust
the bookshop of the National Gallery of Aust
Paperchain Bookstore 34 Franklin St Manuka ACT,#mce_temp_url#, 02 62956723; 
from the publisher, Ginninderra Press 79B Lipson St Pt Adelaide SA 5015

 

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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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Trying to wipe a protesting chocolate-smeared face with one preloved tissuefifties-mom

Listening for the sound of the front door latch.

1am. 2am. Where are they? Sleep banished to the drumming of your heart.

Stop bouncing that bloody ball!

 

Darling, you’re a goat in The Three Billy Goats Gruff. You have to be a goat.

Not a princess. Put on some glitter. You can be a goat princess.

The cry, the gasp….pushing new life into the world

How could you cut his hair? Look at him. He looks like an 8-year-old monk!

Yes. I am his mother. What hospital? How bad?

The others? Thank God. (Strong words for an almost atheist.)

 

You can’t wear that t-shirt. I don’t care if everyone’s wearing them

and you are a PORN STAR. No. That’s not what I meant.

Clever boy! Wee wee in the potty. Bring on the brass band!

I can’t just go to the hole in the wall and get money. It doesn’t work like that.

But you can’t be a vegetarian! You don’t like vegetables.

 

The small fey-like fist clasping your little finger

You’ve made some honeycomb. Greeeat! And what tornado hit the kitchen?

Your father and I do know one or two things about sex! Don’t look so shocked!!!!!

STOOOOP! You WERE going to hit that car. I am not panicking.

I’m the licensed driver. You’re the learner. Remember.

Sorry Luke. She’s at Under 14 swimming. Perhaps you could ring back in 2 years time!

 

You will call us from your bohemian hovel, occasionally. Won’t you?

Oh Look! Mummy’s wallets in the toilet! How DO you wash $20 bills?

Knock. Knock. Who’s there. Bumface. Bumface Who? Bumface you!!

The tears. Someone will love you. Sometime. I promise. (I do. I love you.)

 

Motherhood: cont…..

 

Between these moments, maybe because of them

Into your psyche sweeps the image of the Mythical Mom

In her chariot of goodliness. All gleam and glow!

No oil dripping on your thoughts from her chariot hubs.

 

She is, for me, the Fifties TV cup-cake making mom.

A pert Harriet Nelson. Frilly in her stereotype apron.

School lunches packed. Kitchen clean.

Serving me – by reason of certain inadequacies- lashings of cup-cake guilt.

Every so often, I try and fit myself

Into her smooth cup cake mould

But I’m all rough edges and jutting bits

 

I want to warn you about her! The Mythical Mom!

She is a chameleon. She becomes the perfect hue and shade 

Of everything you aren’t!

And she’ll turn up, uninvited on the doorstep of your unease

All knowing, mixing bowl in hand

To marble the shadows of guilt into your motherhood.

 

But those moments (of motherhood)

Are yours. Not hers.

They form the language and texture of your motherhood

They make you into the mother only you can be!        

Kerry Cue                          

 

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