February 11, 2003

productive morning

Today I'm anchoring a class, but not teaching any modules, which means I sit here while other people teach, to make sure everything is flowing smoothly and to provide continuity. I have my laptop and a network connection, so it's actually not an entirely unproductive way to spend a day. I confess that so far this morning, though, most of my productivity has been channeled toward the following.

This one is dedicated to the Spartan mothers, Martha Jefferson, who died at least partly through trying to provide an heir for Tom, and to Erlenweg6 at Diaryland), though I still hope it will not apply to her. (For that reason, even though it was something she wrote that sparked the poem, I'm not linking to her. I don't think it's something she needs to see, just as a matter of her own peace of mind. Send good thoughts her way, and to her son Nolan.)

A Mother's Loss

Ancient Greece
Each Spartan matron told her warrior son
Not to come back, unless with his shield or on it.
I wonder, when the chroniclers were not looking,
Later, each by her own private hearth,
If each cried out,
"Oh, my son!"

They told me not to love him, said I had to bear a-many
Told me I would lose a child for every one I kept.
But he kicked his way to life beneath my breastbone
Grew stronger, bigger, feeding from my body.
How could I not love him? -- and now he's leaving.
Don't tell me stories about Heaven
God doesn't need my child as much as I do.
Oh, my baby! How can I keep him?
My son, my little boy.

I never even thought of this. We've
Got miracle medicine now. It's not
Supposed to happen in this age. How? Why?
Who sneaked the age-old Horsemen
In, past the white-coated guardians?
And why, why, why my son? My baby,
I brought him to life once
And would again. If it killed me,
I would do it. I can't.
And that may kill me too.
Oh, my son, how can I hold you?

And here's a terza rima for antidote:

Water and ice, a cold-burning purity
Frozen, spear-bright, sharded light.
Life's edge, no comfort, no security.

The Boreal: the land of clean and white,
Throbbing colors, sheets of light above
Living heat bewrayed by frigid night;

Auroral warmth is chilled by far remove.
Taran-taran-taran! the call implicit in the air
Is to the explorers, unafraid to love,

Where love is not returned. The harsh land here
Will be no easy lover. Small return
Requites the hungry lure of the austere.

Utter North, so cold that cold can burn,
A study in chiaroscuro, stark,
Clear boundaries defined at every turn.

Yet still Aurora, throbbing in the dark,
And lichens at life's outmost bound demarked,
Belie the snuffing of life's stubborn spark.

Now, what do I do this afternoon?
Oops -- almost forgot to thank Baf - - that dollie there in the sidebar in the extra-bright uni is adapted from one she made for me. (I added muscles and slimmed her a tiny bit. Yes, I'm vain.) Posted by dichroic at February 11, 2003 12:28 PM
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