Monday, May 10, 2010

Tuesday Poem: "May First"

May First

When you were born, the world was too.
The yews put out chartreuse and tulips
lifted red Bordeaux in satin goblets.
A haze from sugar maples streamed

thru our bedroom-window screen. People
say newborns don't see. Don't believe it.
You always turned your head toward light.
"You must change your life," Rilke wrote.

What did he know? You woke me. Birth
transforms. Procreation flares. In Terror
I became heroic. Before my wounds
healed I fought sleep to keep you alive.

Tuesday Poem is a New Zealand-based blog that welcomes all poets.


  1. I love this:

    "...You woke me. Birth"

    Ah, how fierce the new mother!

  2. This is a remarkable, deep red poem, Mim.

    I especially admire the way you've named Terror with a capital T-, turning the emotional state into a proper noun, a physical place you inhabit and in whose grip you become heroic.

    Similarly, Birth and Procreation become proper nouns, places as well as events.

    As T. Clear says, 'How fierce the new mother!'

    L, C

  3. Lovely to hear from you, T. Clear and Claire. My answer to sentimental Mother's Day. I confess I wasn't aware that I had used a capital T. It may have been a typo, but I believe in unconscious acts.

  4. 喜樂的心是健康良藥,憂傷的靈使骨枯乾。........................................

  5. I believe the Chinese says, "A cheerful heart is good medicine for health, a broken spirit makes marrow dry."

  6. that satin tulip, gorgeous. they say we forget the pain of birth, but we don't; it just ceases to matter so much in light of what follows.

  7. Lovely poem, Mim. The final stanza strongly resonates.

  8. Mim, this starts out so quietly, the nature almost too beautifully seen. And its wonderful how the heroic mother begins even further up than
    Terror, when the fierce mother starts to tell the truth of it, ""People say. . . What did he know?" The experience of bearing the child and giving all to its welfare sends all the poetic niceties out that very window, and the diction is declarative, ferocious. Terrific, Mim

  9. It's funny that in any other context I would have found the opening line a tad trivial and yet it's because of what comes after that I kept repeating it to myself long after I'd finished reading the poem.

    'When you were born, the world was too.'

    Many thanks. That was another beautiful offering.

    Greetings from London.

  10. You are acute readers. I'm so glad you see how the poem works its way out of too easily invoked beauty.

    It's astonishing how we gather in from the West Coast of America, Boston, New Zealand, London, near London, China--or at least Chinese speaking.

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.