Tag Archives: poetry

Big shoes…

Quietly

I notice

One of the verbs of me

 

The becoming,

The familiarity

of embedded patterns,

hiding themselves in plain sight and

forgotten; woven between the subconscious and the links of dusty DNA –

Brushed off and ready for another round

of motherhood.

 

And gradually

my own mothering memories cocooned in nostalgia

These soft-edged replays

Of careful kindnesses and strained patience

Of steadfast believing-in-me with secret sacrifices

Of space-less snuggles and laugh-out-loud adventures

Now star myself

 

The actors morph

And now it is my own voice; but is it?

My own flaws; but are they?

My own laughter; but is it?

My own human attempt at love; but is it?

And I am suddenly grateful

 

That in my own rocky road to mastering motherhood

Where days stretch and failures amass

I can step, unashamedly

into the patterns of my own mother’s making

The good, the bad; but mostly the warm

And surprisingly the shoes fit

Almost perfectly

Just a few sizes too big

Otherworld

DSC_0125

Small people climbing beneath crumpled sheets;

Connect.

Weetbix laden accounts; wriggly bottoms on seats;

Connect.

Squinting through golden rays, hanging washed clothes;

Connect.

Coffee meetings, meaningful ideas to propose;

Connect.

The rushed overdue email, work to oversee;

Connect.

A kiss required for a barely scraped knee;

Connect.

Sandpits squeals and castles created;

Connect.

Kitchen madness as dinner’s anticipated;

Connect.

Bath bubbles, minty breath, stories by shadowy light;

Connect.

Warm chats with friends, a summer night;

Connect.

 

And still…

It corners me, demands me, tempts my doubting

Unchecked;

Awake or asleep, it stays close; shouting

“Connect!”

 

This noisy otherworld:

despite my efforts to turn away

Follows me, instep, along my way;

Or instead: (with a sad sigh of dismay)

Is it I who follows day-to-day?

 

This noise reaches the depths of longing

With the addiction of false belonging

Not with pain, or force, or attraction

But with this powerful Drug of Distraction.

 

This new currency that

Lulls

Us

To

Sleep

With the full force of a half-lived half-numbed, ‘connected’ life.

 

This otherworld:

Of instagrammable beauty, impatient emails and Must Watch series

Of trending tweets, social echo chambers, unlimited knowledge and theories;

And then,

ever so silently

earth and heavens’ take-your-breath-away moments on offer

Are replaced with a neatly packaged dopamine hit…

From your phone.

 

 

*A little bit of background:

I have been reflecting lately on my own addiction to technology, and have been listening to some powerful podcasts on the effects of this constant distraction to the human spirit. I remember a time where I could happily ponder or write or read for hours without a thought to technology. But gradually, it feels as if my very ability to be present to myself and whatever is happening around me – to enjoy a moment in time, a lazy read, a slice of solitude, a magnificent sunset, a connection with another – is slowly eroding.  I feel a twinge often, to record and share, rather than savour, and it makes me tired. In his book Digital Minimalism, Cal Newport writes that ‘Simply put, humans are not wired to be constantly wired’, and I find myself nodding aggressively in agreeance with this. Watching my children, who are growing up in an era where digital connection distraction is the norm,  is driving me to learn to model a life that is cautiously balanced, full of tangible face-to-face connection, and brimming with the gift of presence to each other and the world around us. I wrote this poem as a reminder; a warning to myself when I feel the temptation to ‘check out’ of the beautiful ordinariness of real life to “connect” with this noisy but often pointless other world.

This Lopsided Earth

Ugandan baby

Scan after scan after just-to-be-safe scan

The Risk of just-born jeopardy,

Entirely absent from my pregnancy plan,

Concealed by the masters of modern medicine.

Launching oft-futile guerrilla assaults;

Striking in response to the misstep of man

Rebellion against the promised assurances

of midwives and monitors and surgeries and scans;

But rarely a success in battle.  If it occurs:

there is shock, and shame, and blame, and a cry

That ‘no child should die’!

No baby should lie

Without a life to satisfy

 

But in the occupied territory, where risk reigns in little lives:

Over the great chasm of access and supply

Faintly, if you have ears eager to listen to the cry

And block out the lapping of luxury at your heels

And make room for what this dystopia reveals

And pierce through the privilege that cocoons your truths…

 

With each live birth, each safe passage to our world;

Comes the quiet grief of a mother’s tears

Sidelined by other-ness and foreign fears

Whispering of sweet promises unkept

Until, with un-lived memories; she wept

Wept for the babe, their newness now gone

Wept for a health system she cannot depend on

Wept for the vacuum of drugs, staff and cars

Wept for tiny hands, now safe in the stars.

 

Geography seals fates for these babes, and thus;

They’re torn from women who, despite the distance, are like us…

But with sad acceptance of their world;

Where children do die

Where babies do lie

Without a life, to satisfy…

In a world where risk is always nigh

 

No just-to-be-safe scans, no monitors, no available staff

The certainty of risk beyond our comfortable grasp

A gamble for mothers, who bet on their own hearts;

A gamble unseen, unheard by us; their counterparts

A gamble, in Uganda, which mothers’ lose,

If only there were other choices to choose….

On this lop-sidedly serviced earth,

For every 19 Ugandan babes?  1 ill-fated birth*

 

A little story behind the poem:

I started writing this poem a few years ago, when a staff member at MH lost his newborn baby. It was him and his wife’s first baby, and the grief seemed to swallow up our team for a few days. I remember the jarring nature of the baby’s death, some 12 hours after birth, when staff were still celebrating the original message that he and his wife had welcomed new life into the world.

It was tragic, and mainly left unexplained. There was deep sadness. One of the things I love and find frustrating about Ugandan culture – in equal measure – is the passive acceptance of, and embracing of the world as it is with all its suffering. It seems to allow Ugandans the ability to grieve well, and then rise up out of the ashes, resilient as ever. In the same breath, this acceptance often prevents a critique of the source of the suffering; so often relinquishing the possibility for questioning and change.

This particular little baby died in a big hospital; all seemed fine until it wasn’t. MH doesn’t offer maternity – we don’t have space or resources to do so – though we hope to in the future. But the lack of quality maternity services in our region, juxtaposed against the incredible obstetric/neonatal care available in Australia that I have been lucky enough to access with my own births, will always stay with me, and drives much of our passion in the journey of MH.

*based on 2017 infant mortality rate of 54.6/1000 live births

Little Lives

I’ve been writing a little bit of poetry lately. My brain feels very full of Maranatha Health and theory and programs and I find it difficult to sit down and write anything apart from work. But poetry seems to be the exception to this. I’ve never shared my poetry before – a little scary, so thanks for reading 🙂DSC09798

Little Lives

Another day

Dances in front of me, fast and frenzied, and departs the stage

Again the curtains fall and before the lights are dimmed ready for the next act

I feel the hurried lurching of little lives

Passing by,

the uncovering of fate and fears and freedom.

A birthday, and new skills, and fresh individuality

Swirling into the shadows of shared history

And then, occasionally the moment freezes.

A gift.

And in that moment I breathe in the sweetness of my children’s cheeky joy; I linger in my magic power to kiss away pain; I melt into the circling chubby arms declaring their love; I laugh at familiar punchlines that signal home; I stand in wonder as little hearts make room for grown-up failures in our shared life

But so often

the frame stubbornly refuses to freeze.

And life escapes and I run and we survive and days dissolve and the mess of life seems to pass by without any of us stopping to smell roses or daisies or sunflowers:

or the intoxicating scent of freshly washed toddler skin;

or the sniff of sweaty after-naps snuggles;

or the fragrance of trampoline-jumping joy and pool-splashing fun

or the post childcare aroma of summer days and sand pits and playing hard wrapped in the wiff of I’m-home-and-can-let-it-all-out explosions.

I will miss it, I say…

All the whilst wishing giant chunks of the not-so-good-days away, where illness and chaos and sleep deprivation and brotherly rivalries and too-much-yelling take hold and the exhaustion blocks out the smells of a life brimming with beautiful ordinary things

But when the pauses declare themselves

Aren’t they marvellous?

Aren’t these things we’ve created so marvellous?

And then the relentless weight of motherhood feels so…

light.