Christmas is about birth. Its mystery. Its power. Its promise. In our culture we tend to silence the body’s wisdom even in birth–an experience which calls on the intuitions and strength of bodies like no other. At Christmas we hear the reverberations of angels–do not be afraid. Let us all find the courage anew to let ourselves be born and to let ourselves give birth to God’s creativity in us. This prose poem is a birth story I can tell.
The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in.
-from Psalm 121
~From behind my eyes I had seen it all: cell membranes, luscious strands of life force, graceful waves of muscle fibers moving in symphonic rhythm. Trickling fluids decorate each glimmer I had of giving birth.
~Move. Dance. Rock. Sway.
A slow crawling grip circled my overgrown belly. Sing.
Somewhere distant voices sounded attentive. “Try this wet rag. She’s sweating.”
I felt a spray, a mist and heard the faint whir of fabric flicking near my neck.
Sing. Sway. Move.
The grip held me tenaciously. Sing. Sing. Droplets. Voices. Sing.
The grip began to ease itself. Behind and around its fingers softened, and a wave of relief washed in and through each vertebrae swirling down, washing down as if to water the earth with vital fluids now done with their first purpose.
Inside the shadows of wise waves gave me rest until the next embrace.
~Her voice was sweet, strong—that’s the music of heaven-sent ones who know what you need. “Instead of screaming, grunt like this, from your gut.”
I could see the place that had the strength for this kind of velocity—not my chest, not the boney enamel of ribs, clavicles, spine. It was from the mahogany tissues of the deep place where real oxygen found its map for body travel.
I took myself there and pulled the rush of power it held and growled for what felt like a timeless gush.
I saw those trickles turn to flood—and I felt the round swell of a sweet new body move past where my flesh stopped.
My eyes opened in automatic reflex—she was out—apart from me. New, strong. Before me.
My daughter—flesh of my flesh. Bone of my bone.
No more view of the inside
out—I only had eyes for her.
One thought on “Being Born”
Marcia, this is breathtakingly beautiful. What a wonderful piece for new mothers, for experienced mothers, for daughters. “Bone of my bone” takes on a whole new resonance in your poem’s hands. Thank you.