Why should I have been surprised? Hunters walk the forest without a sound. The hunter, strapped to his rifle, the fox on his feet of silk, the serpent on his empire of muscles— all move in a stillness, hungry, careful, intent. Just as the cancer entered the forest of my body, without a sound.
2. The question is, what will it be like after the last day? Will I float into the sky or will I fray within the earth or a river— remembering nothing? How desperate I would be if I couldn't remember the sun rising, if I couldn't remember trees, rivers; if I couldn't even remember, beloved, your beloved name.
3. I know, you never intended to be in this world. But you're in it all the same.
so why not get started immediately.
I mean, belonging to it. There is so much to admire, to weep over.
And to write music or poems about.
Bless the feet that take you to and fro. Bless the eyes and the listening ears. Bless the tongue, the marvel of taste. Bless touching.
You could live a hundred years, it's happened. Or not. I am speaking from the fortunate platform of many years, none of which, I think, I ever wasted. Do you need a prod? Do you need a little darkness to get you going? Let me be urgent as a knife, then, and remind you of Keats, so single of purpose and thinking, for a while, he had a lifetime.
4. Late yesterday afternoon, in the heat, all the fragile blue flowers in bloom in the shrubs in the yard next door had tumbled from the shrubs and lay wrinkled and fading in the grass. But this morning the shrubs were full of the blue flowers again. There wasn't a single one on the grass. How, I wondered, did they roll back up to the branches, that fiercely wanting, as we all do, just a little more of life?
There is something about Mary Oliver's words that gets right into my gut. Into my throat and really into the centre of my soul. My utter human-ness. What a reminder she always is of the beauty of this world - of the fact that even in the pain and struggle of it all - even in death - there is such beauty. So much to admire, and to weep over, and belong to.
Hear Mary Oliver read this poem - something not to be missed - here.
"We must recognise that under duress great things are born. Diamonds form in molten stone. The sweetest flowers of man's spirit have most often been watered by tears. To struggle gives strength, to endure breeds a greater capacity for endurance. We must not run away from our heartbreaks in life; we must go through them, however fiery they may be, and bring with us out of the fire a stronger character, a deeper reliance on ourselves and on the Creator Who, like a good Parent, chastizes us because He loves us and because He knows what can be made out of us and that the pain is worth the prize that can be won. Love, hate, passion, fear, sorrow, pain -they act on us and spur us on, they develop our qualities and give us colour and individuality. Why should we want to shun and abolish some of the factors that bring out the best in us, that temper our steel, that teach us to value happiness at its true worth? Can a man who has never been hungry in all his life know what a piece of …
Harper Olivia MacPherson Born 4:10 pm on 4 July 2014 at Vincent Pallotti Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa 3.9 kilograms & 54 cm long // 8.5 pounds & 21.2 inches
Harper's due date was Monday 30 June. Monday came and went. Nothing. On Tuesday morning I was suspicious that my water had broken, but after going to the hospital to see the midwife, we weren't sure. Tuesday came and went. We headed back to the hospital on Wednesday - bags and all, just in case - but again, nothing.
On Thursday morning we headed back to the hospital for a scheduled check in with my OBGYN, Dr. Kate Richardson, as I was then a few days overdue. The scan indicated a few things: there was very little liquid around Harper, and she had turned and was now in the posterior position. Dr. Richardson decided the safest bet was to induce labour later that day. We rushed home, backed our bags, and notified family and friends that we were headed back to the hospital to get the show on the road.
Sometimes being a mom
is hard work. And I guess being a single mom is harder. That’s what they say anyway.
I got my wisdom tooth out nearly a week ago and it’s been pretty unbearable.
And Harper has had a pretty killer tummy bug that combined with a chest cough yesterday
– and vomiting – which was enough to land us in the emergency room. Poor baby.
When that kind of stuff happens – mouth throbbing, baby puking on you and
starting the day covered in shit – there are certainly parts of me that want to
hand my whole life over to someone else for them to take care of.
take the baby to the hospital! You clean up the shit! You wash the puke off of
her and yourself! I’m going to sleep.”
That would be so nice. But, at the same
time, I would not have wanted anyone else at that hospital with her. I couldn’t
have lived with myself if I had actually done that. And that’s the really
sneaky difficult bit – as much as I want someone else to do it all, I wonder if
what I really want is …