Friday, August 13, 2010

Contest Winner

Remember that contest for poems about unborn babies? Well, I chose the winner (some time ago, in fact). This was a less-popular contest, but I did get two or three good submissions.

The winner is Dr. Thursday!

O Secret Trinity

For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast protected me from my mother's womb. I will praise thee, for thou art fearfully magnified: wonderful are thy works, and my soul knoweth right well. My bone is not hidden from thee, which thou hast made in secret: and my substance in the lower parts of the earth. Thy eyes did see my imperfect being, and in thy book all shall be written... [Ps 138:13-16]

There are three broad classes of the special things in which human wisdom does permit privacy... GKC ILN Aug 10 1907 CW27:524

I myself am a mortal man, like all others, and of the race of him, that was first made of the earth, and in the womb of my mother I was fashioned to be flesh. In the time of ten months I was compacted in blood... [Wisdom 7:1-2]

The average time for delivery is ten lunar months, or 280 days.
[Arey, Developmental Anatomy 105]

That hilltop sign, the cross of wood, does teach
In rejection, reality is known.
And, too, it signs a linking part of speech,
In plain addition hides this royal throne:
A yoke of two to plow, seeds to be sown,
A fruitful field where words shall be enclayed,
The good wine poured hints loud of acts unshown...
Our flesh and bone in secrecy was made.

That tree of truth, that truth is one does preach:
How Pi, by love, ascends to Theta's zone,
And Theta, wisely, down to Pi must reach.
From heaven's height a mighty wind has blown:
The sole-begotten from the grave has flown.
Thus we seek those laws which must be obeyed:
The truth uniting seed and star and stone...
Our flesh and bone in secrecy was made.

He Who once glowed like some transcendent bleach,
Emmaus-bound, used a less blinding tone:
He gave his sidekicks clues to fill the breach,
The truth revealed, "how slow" they soon would moan.
The Master chides us too, warns still His own:
Advent will end, the truth will be displayed!
Watch, stay awake, your wits be sure to hone...
Our flesh and bone in secrecy was made.

Oh unborn Lord whose flesh and blood and bone
In secret grew as ten moons glowed and grayed,
Behold us made like you - adrift, alone...
Our flesh and bone in secrecy was made.

* * *

It gets bonus points for being a ballade -- a form I find quite difficult.

Then there's mine, which I am still not a huge fan of, but never did revise. Listen for the sentiment, not the scansion! I wrote it while driving home from work one day, very sore, with the baby kicking the guts out of me. (I must say, it is REALLY nice not to be pregnant! Babies are much more fun on the outside!) It uses a lot of allusion and sometimes straight-out quotes ... but T. S. Eliot did that too, so I don't think it (quite) counts as plagiarism. If you want I can cite my sources.

For Mark, before his birthday
I bear you with a thousand natural shocks;
I wrap you in a silent inner ocean.
I hold you closer than the Spartan child’s fox:
You tear my vitals with your every motion.
I will bear the marks you give me all my days.
I contain you in a mystery beyond speech.
I suffer the scars that only love repays;
The doppler hears two hearts beating, each to each.
That heart will pull on mine for all my years;
I do not grudge you all this passing trouble.
There is a love that’s deeper than my tears.
I walk the earth with pulses that beat double.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Someone does not want me to bring this blog back. As soon as I wrote the title, I kid you not, the baby woke up. But he is snoozing again, and here I go.

My last post was six months ago. I write that in some shock. I knew posting was going to get less frequent, and maybe take a bit of a break, but I never meant to let this space lie fallow for so long. Lately I have been doing things much deeper than poetry, but I still need that "moment of peace" that poetry provides. And I'm sure you, my gentle readers, do too. So I apologize for leaving you poetry-less for so long.

Of course you are always welcome to read my other blog, but perhaps you've seen it and said to yourself, "But I don't have a kid and am not really interested in the play-by-play of baby life! I want POETRY!" And of course I don't want to be a case in point of how women always drop their intellectual life at the side of the road when they have kids.

Part of what's delayed me so long is that I have a contest open. I've picked the winner, but I also promised to post my own entry, and I hate my own entry. I kept saying I was going to revise it and then post it, but it's unfair to leave my blog on hold just because I'm stuck on this one poem. So I'll post it as-is, and perhaps revise it later.

I leave you with an excerpt from Yeats' "A Prayer for My Daughter":

May she become a flourishing hidden tree
That all her thoughts may like the linnet be,

And have no business but dispensing round

Their magnanimities of sound,

Nor but in merriment begin a chase,

Nor but in merriment begin a quarrel.

O may she live like some green laurel,

Rooted in one dear perpetual place.

Those of you who have children -- what are your prayers for them?