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.


Thomas D said...

Sheila, I like your poem. I like "a thousand natural shocks," with its nod to Hamlet, and I especially cherish the rhyme at the end of "all this passing trouble" and "pulses that beat double." Well done!

Dr Thursday, you are a virtuoso! (Didn't Yeats write something about "our stitching and unstitching is in vain unless our words seem but a moment's thought" [paraphrase]? Your ballade seems almost effortlessly fluent.) And I love the line about seed and star and stone.

(I did attempt to write something with this contest in mind, but the result was a tristful misadventure; so, I did not submit it.)

But I am glad -- nay, grateful -- to see these two fine poems!

some guy on the street said...

I'd have guessed "Keats" if you'd run that quote at me (though you didn't... ) but I'm not gonna bet the farm on so much of my memory.

Hummmmm... "each to each..." is a plum of a picture --- oh! to each plums with impunity, but my mouth won't let me, alas.

I think I've digressed enough, now.

Sheila said...

Every line people have liked is a quote: "two hearts beating each to each" is from Robert Browning, "Meeting at Night," and "pulses that beat double" is Elizabeth Barrett Browning, one of the Sonnets from the Portuguese. That's the charm of a cento or an Eliot-esque patchwork -- you get to borrow the cleverness of others. But it doesn't really count as my cleverness unless I used the quotes in a clever why. I did try to.

some guy on the street said...

to "each" ... I meant "eat"... how the lines linger, like sticky plum juice... er... never mind.

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