Monday, November 5, 2007

Poetry Train Monday - 24 - A Donna Poem

I enjoyed a wonderful trip to Toronto a few weeks ago, when I was so happy to spend an afternoon with my friend Donna. We share November birthdays, and since I'm just back from a family dinner celebrating the six November birthdays on my side of the family, I'm also thinking of Toronto November birthday people.

When I first moved to Toronto in 1986, I was 21 years old and very lucky to be hired by Donna to be her daughter's nanny. I lived with them for two really special years. Here's a poem I wrote for her just after I turned 22.

A Donna Poem

Your lashes drift awake
Your eyes see a different view

Not the red of your mother's womb
Exploding into the anticeptic green
The latex palm in which you were cupped
The cheesy residue of your old life
Erased as gently as those who have forgotten
Can manage

First impressions
A blessing
That newborns are half blind
In that way
Every mother is beautiful
Her smile wide
Words a tonal haze
Floating past the insular life
Of hunger, confusion, sleep-escape

This date looms out from the year
The anniversary of your entry
The letters, numbers have no bearing for the rest of us
They were your co-ordinates
You chose midnight
Riding the cusp between days
You knew even then
Essential freedom
Would be immeasurable

This day finds you
The former channel
Your own daughter sleeps downstairs
Her crib housing her thoughts
Her emergence spun you around
One destiny fulfilled
Leaving you open
How many more before you

What you understand today
Took years of interpretation
Each survived second
Unrecognized victory
You scan the molecules
Swimming transparent
Unlike the murk of past practical jokes

You've learned that a greased pig is hopeless
The days ahead have their own plan

Why not lay in bed
This time to yourself
It really is yours
People will sing you that song
While every nerve is attuned
The earth vibrates with your frequency

It's your day

Copyright Julia Smith 1986


Anonymous said...

You have a wonderful way with words. This is a beautiful poem.

Anonymous said...

This is a wonderful poem. This is my favorite bit: "Each survived second
Unrecognized victory" so true.

Thank you for sharing this with us.

Rhian said...

"You've learned that a greased pig is hopeless
The days ahead have their own plan"


Anonymous said...

A very beautiful poem from your archives. Thanks for posting this!

Lisa Andel said...

The greased pig caught my eye as well.

And what a beautiful thing for you to write for your friend.

Karina said...

This is beautiful!

"You chose midnight
Riding the cusp between days
You knew even then
Essential freedom
Would be immeasurable"

I'm a midnight baby myself, and had never thought of it this way. Very nice!

Unknown said...

Beautiful Poem Julia, thanks for sharing.

Mike Minzes said...

Wonderful poem!!

Akelamalu said...

Lovely Poem Julia.

You're a Scorpio? Me too!

Anonymous said...

Wow, that's really cool - love the latex line!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I was thinking similar thoughts about myself, this morning. Or at least this poem made me think back to those thoughts I was having, which kinda scares me.

At any rate, this is an incredible poem.

Julia Phillips Smith said...

Karina - Midnight baby! Very cool.

Akelamalu - Scorpios, yes indeed!

Red Garnier said...

This is such a beautiful poem and yes, what is it with the pig? LOL!! Awesome, I always enjoy your posts, Julia. ;)

Sparky Duck said...

loved it, especially the greased pig line

Amy Ruttan said...

Beautiful poem Julia!!

I wish I had your poetic sensabilities, some days I think my mind is in the proverbial gutter. :P

Jill said...

i like the motherly feeling about that poem...

poefusion said...

Can I be your friend? This tribute to your friend was beautiful. I can't pick a favorite line as all of them are so well written. Keep up the good work. Kudos to you!

Have a nice day.

Thanks for visiting Poefiti the other day. And, for your kind words.

Joy Renee said...

it amazed me you were only 21 when you wrote this. It is so insightful and perceptive and bespeaks way more maturity than I had at 21.

and what a special friendship it must have been to have invoked these thoughts!