Thursday, August 23, 2012

this week's adventures in motherhood: the poetry of staying home.

If I had decided to go back to work this year, yesterday would have been my first day with students. I'm feeling surprisingly blank about the whole thing: not good, not bad, not happy, not sad. I guess that's a sign that, in some ways, either decision would have been the right one. I could have spent the day handing out a crisp, freshly printed syllabus to each tentative new face that greeted me at my classroom door, every one dressed up in their "I want to look good but not like I'm trying too hard" finery. Instead, I spent the day with this face: sometimes looking confused when I tried to get her to pick out the cardinal from a big picture of birds, sometimes pinching her eyes shut because squinting is her newest trick, sometimes wide-mouthed with tears because she couldn't get a zipper to work or the snack wasn't coming fast enough. But mostly smiling.

I do miss my poems of the day, as always. This poem has been rattling around in my brain lately; I found it when looking for a suitable piece to bring to that blessingway I attended a while back. The second-to-last line reminds me of the second-to-last line in "J. Alfred Prufrock," but much less melancholy.

Oh, to be a poet! I guess I'll settle for the (much) lesser art of blogging.

After Making Love We Hear Voices - Galway Kinnell

For I can snore like a bullhorn
or play loud music
or sit up talking with any reasonably sober Irishman
and Fergus will only sink deeper
into his dreamless sleep, which goes by all in one flash,
but let there be that heavy breathing
or a stifled come-cry anywhere in the house
and he will wrench himself awake
and make for it on the run--as now, we lie together,
after making love, quiet, touching along the length of our bodies,
familiar touch of the long-married,
and he appears--in his baseball pajamas, it happens,
the neck opening so small he has to screw them on--
and flops down between us and hugs us and snuggles himself to sleep,
his face  gleaming with satisfaction at being this very child.

In the half darkness we look at each other
and smile
and touch arms across this little, startlingly muscled body--
this one whom habit of memory propels to the ground of his making,
sleeper only the mortal sounds can sing awake,
this blessing love gives again into our arms.


  1. This poem is so beautiful, thanks for sharing it!

    I love this part! "In the half darkness we look at each other
    and smile
    and touch arms across this little, startlingly muscled body"

  2. Beautifully written! Both the poem and your words.

  3. I'm so happy you have a peace about your decision to stay home with your daughter. I, too, chose to be at home with my little one and haven't regretted it once. I've never met a mother who regretted her choice to stay home with her children.
    Lovely poem, as well. :)

  4. I'm glad the start of the school year was easy for you...and what a blessing it is to stay home with that little cutie!

    I love this poem, it's so beautiful! Thanks for sharing it today. : )

  5. Beautiful poem. I had to smile, since my own baseball-pajama clad little boy snuggled between us this morning. Have a great day!

  6. I absolutely love that poem. Thank you for bringing it into my life! I'm so glad to hear you're content with your decision, too. May it be a great year for you and Lorelei.

  7. I didn't realize that you were a teacher! This year was the hardest yet for me to stay at home. There are so many things I miss about teaching, but I think the blessings of staying home far outweigh those! (And maybe we need a poetry link-up!)