Friday, July 12, 2024

A New Poem: Psalm


In the dream,

she was repeating

the opening lines

of the 23rd psalm,

over and over.

 

But King James's

language

was not her own.

She wanted to

keep the words

as a prayer,

as a mantra,

as a call.

And so she

re-wrote it:

 

Spirit is my guide.

I need nothing else.

It has me rest

in the peace of

the green world.

It leads me to

calm waters.

It restores my soul.

 

The dream was

a healing dream.

And so she kept it

as a gift.

 


SoulCollage® card - Healing Dream

Friday, June 28, 2024

She Put Down the Stone

A new poem....

Exactly one year ago,

she heard the words

Begin with the stones.

Not understanding how,

she moved on.

Forgot.

Dropped the matter.

 

Today, a year later,

she heard the words

She put down the stone.

Well, she had no cause

to keep carrying it.

Its weight was a burden

unfulfilled.

She would never

have thrown it.

She had no idea

what to do with it.

So, she put the stone down.

 

The words today

arrived not as a rebuke,

not even as acknowledgement

of her actions.

She realized they came

as new instruction.

 

So, this time

she put down the stone

as a prayer.

Her prayer was meant

to sink down

into the earth.

Unlike fire or air prayers,

it was not meant

to ascend to

the heavens.

It was a deep

and solemn prayer,

a story, meant

to descend

into the soil,

to be carried by

roots and mycelium,

down into and through

the body of

the Great Mother.

 

After she put down the stone,

she picked up another

to hold, to carry,

and to put down.

More stones,

more prayers,

more healing.

She finally did begin

with the stones,

only a year late,

understanding now

what the words meant,

what these carriers

of slow stories,

offered and gave.


SoulCollage® card - Priestess of Stones


Wednesday, May 29, 2024

A New Poem: How Beauty Saved Me


When I thought

there was nothing left,

she showed up.

Not to teach me

a lesson, no,

not to reprimand

or preach,

but to lead me

to the door.

She didn't say, 

"Get your butt outside,"

the way I might have.

She wrapped a red shawl

around my shoulders

against the chill

of the wintry wind

on the spring day.

The sun was so bright,

I wanted to close

my eyes, but she

demanded in her

soft voice - "Look." 

And I looked.

And my eyes and heart

were flooded with spring's 

flowering renewal.

Still here.

Beauty and I.

Still here.





Monday, May 20, 2024

Womb Talk, Conclusion

Here is the last piece of my musings on the loss of my womb. 


Hysteria 

To the ancient Egyptians,

it was caused by a displaced

or wandering womb.

To the Greeks,

it also stemmed from

the inability to bear children,

or the unwillingness to marry

(for surely, if you refused to marry,

you must have been hysterical).

They named it for the word

for womb, hystera.

Augustine called it

satanic possession.

Later, its definition mutated

into any mental disturbance 

in women. Men? 

No womb, no hysteria.

When psychology arrived,

diagnoses of anxiety and depression.

eclipsed those of hysteria.

Hmm...

Perhaps women were always

anxious and depressed.

Now, women are called

hysterical when they express

"out of control" emotion.

 

Is it time that we reclaim

the word, the way we did

with "witch" and "crone"?

Let's stop letting them

demean us.

Do we not, in this world,

have so much to

get riled about?

If a woman expresses big feelings,

she is either "shrill" at best,

or "hysterical" at worst.

 

My sisters, we have the right

to our righteous hysteria.

Do our hysterics scare them?

Let's stop apologizing for

our fury, our fear, and distress.

Let's let tears flow in our rage.

Then let us move on to do

what we know how to do -

Caretake the earth, the children,

and each other.


SoulCollage card

Facing the Unknown


Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Womb Talk, Part 5

tried several times to listen for a message from my uterus.  I wanted to give it a voice. After all, I called this writing Womb Talk. I attempted to write a poem or two in its voice, but they felt contrived, forced.  The only aspect that resonated was the sense of my womb as an integral, integrated part of a whole working system.  It had a part to play, and it did its job.

Suddenly, while writing one morning, I heard the words, Make of me an offering.

 

Without my striving or forcing the conversation, I understood that my womb had finally spoken to me.  I had asked, and a message came, in its own way and time.

 

Womb Talk

 

Make of me an offering.

Find something round -

         a pomegranate,

         a grapefruit,

         a gourd.

Hollow it out, and fill it

         with berries,

         with seeds,

         with tiny flowers.

Take it in both hands,

and bless it, bless me.

Let it stand for what you cannot hold,

what you willingly surrender.

Place it in the receiving earth.

Cover it gently but firmly.

Say - I release you now,

with my thanks and my sadness.

May Persephone welcome you

into Her underworld home.

 

I have served you well,

filled and emptied,

all in the proper times.

I have rested.

Now I will go into

a deeper rest, knowing

that my work is done,

that I will no longer be knit

into the fabric of

my body's community.

You will go on without me,

and I will leave you

with my blessing.

Farewell.

Fare well.


I followed the directions of the poem, and with the help of some friends, I made my offering. Tomorrow I go to Stanford for my surgery.



SoulCollage® card of an offering
after my first surgery



Thursday, May 2, 2024

Womb Talk, Part 4

 Throughout reproductive life, my periods were mostly regular and normal, if crampy.  At least menstrual products had improved.  No more belts! In my early twenties I went on birth control pills, as much for the cramp relief as for protection.  They worked well, but too much information came out about possible long-term effects, so I used a diaphragm after that.  What an awkward and messy little device that was.  But it worked.  Fortunately, the only times I got pregnant were when I wanted to be.

 

When I got older I had fibroids (and heavier periods), but they were not bad enough to remove.  I got my first hot flash at 44.  I was at work, and it took me a while to figure out what was happening.  I was 51 when I had my last period.  I felt a sense of poignancy about it.  All those years of fertility were over, and a new phase of life was beginning.  If we lived in a supportive culture for women, I might have appreciated those times of the month more.  I imagine being surrounded by other women, curled up on couches, resting, talking, and having our time apart.  Not so for modern women who are expected to soldier on as though nothing was happening in our bodies.

 

But menopause mostly brought relief.  I have now had 24 years of it, free of the discomfort and the hassles.  My hot flashes, however, never abated.  Some women are fortunate to never get them.  Those that do usually get over them when menopause is complete.  Me?  Usually two or three a night, occasionally more, occasionally less.  Rarely none.  And almost always during the night, not during the day.  Years ago, I tried bioidentical hormones, but the amount I needed to prevent the flashes made me bleed.  When you have breakthrough bleeding after menopause, doctors want you to get endometrial biopsies.  I had a few of them, and they are fast but incredibly painful.  So, I've learned to live with the flashes. The worst part is never getting an uninterrupted night's sleep.  I know I'm not alone in having long-term hot flashes, but I do think I could possibly break a world's record!

 

*********

 

Now that the story of my womb's life is complete, I want to address her directly.

 

To my uterus:

 

I am so sorry!  You have done nothing but serve me as best you could, and here I am, getting rid of you.  Not only that, but I have been eager to do so.  It isn't your fault. 

 

Not that you and I have always had an easy time of it.  I've never blamed you for my cramps.  Nor did I blame you for my miscarriage.  In fact, you held on to the fetus, even after it had

died.  They had to scrape it out of me because you wouldn't release it.  My doctor couldn't even tell me if it was a boy or a girl.  It's probably better that I didn't know. 

 

You did have some issues, such as fibroids that made for heavy periods.  They tell me there is still a calcified one inside you.  It will finally leave when you do.

 

You fulfilled your purpose, holding and growing two babies. I find that miraculous, actually.  Either you didn't want to let Max go, or he didn't want to emerge, but you held him safely until they brought him into the world.  Interestingly, with Alex, it was the opposite experience.  My waters never broke; a bulge of the bag of waters was the first thing that came out, and so he was born in a caul.  I just read that this only happens in less than 1 in 80,000 births.  The old stories say that being born in a caul means the child will be lucky or will achieve greatness, and that he or she will be immune to drowning.  I can't say if that is true for Alex, but the good fortune has been mine, in being his mother.

 

As I prepare to go into this surgery, I want to thank you. Even though we have had some hard times and experiences, you gave me my sons, and through them, my granddaughters.  How could I not be grateful to you for that?  I apologize if I slighted you in my eagerness to get this tumor out of me, and you along with it.  I will prepare a ritual in your honor as I prepare to surrender my female organs. 

 

I release you not because I can't use you anymore, but because this tumor could be malignant, and I don't want it to continue to grow on or in you. 



Me and the girls in 2015