"Edited to Add"....

This started as a pregnancy blog when I fell pregnant in May 2009 after four years of finding a donor, doing all the counselling / paperwork / tests and trying.

And now, thanks to a 4WD which skidded onto our side of the road, killing our baby daughter at 34w and injuring me, my partner and two of my stepdaughters on 27 December 2009, it has turned into something else. We didn't want this something else, but apparently it is all we've got to go on with.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Poetry + Art First Aid

Mark Rothko, Orange and Yellow 1 from here.

Yesterday I tried all kinds of things to quell the weeping, and this was the only one that really worked - to memorise one of my favorite poems:


Children, if you dare to think
Of the greatness, rareness, muchness
Fewness of this precious only
Endless world in which you say
You live, you think of things like this:
Blocks of slate enclosing dappled
Red and green, enclosing tawny
Yellow nets, enclosing white
And black acres of dominoes,

Where a neat brown paper parcel
Tempts you to untie the string.
In the parcel a small island,
On the island a large tree,
On the tree a husky fruit.
Strip the husk and cut the rind off;
In the centre you will see
Blocks of slate enclosed by dappled
Red and green, enclosed by tawny
Yellow nets, enclosed by white
And black acres of dominoes,

Where the same brown paper parcel -
Children, leave the string untied!
For who dares undo the parcel
Finds himself at once inside it,
On the island, in the fruit,
Blocks of slate about his head,
Finds himself enclosed by dappled
Green and red, enclosed by yellow
Tawny nets enclosed by black
And white acres of dominoes,

But the same brown paper parcel
Still untied upon his knee,
And, if he then should dare to think
Of the fewness, muchness, rareness,
Greatness of this endless only
Precious world in which he says
He lives - he then unties the string.

It has provided comfort before, but there is something about being able to recite it in my head whenever things get too much that gives a settling feeling. I haven't yet memorised the whole thing - just the first two stanzas, but even that gives a little sense of completion.

I think I understand a link now between our loss and this terrible sense of being unable to follow anything through - it is as though my hope mechanism, my ability to imagine completing something, has been damaged. To take the hard small steps to get there, I need to be able to imagine getting there. And I'm hesitant to do that because all that we imagined for Haloumi was lost in a silly moment. I need a little splint for my broken hope bone, a poultice to lay upon it. And time for the bone to knit.


  1. I could knit you a hope bone if you'd like?


  2. That sounds like a really good idea to start small in getting your brain to complete something. After all of the work you did to get pregnant, the months of waiting happily for your baby, and then not to get to the end - to the best part...it's unimaginable to me.

    I haven't memorized a poem since I was in high school. I commend you on trying whatever you can to get through.

  3. I think about you often. I am glad the desire to heal, however small, has found you. Your life will never be un-shattered, but you wil find a new way to live with the shards. Hoping that the desire grows stronger and the weeping lessens just a little bit, enough for you to breathe and remember what the air tasted like when it was not salted with your tears.

  4. @Ping - knitted hope bone! Want! Speaking of, I was wearing the socks you knitted for me today - I'm sure your knitting them in the hospital helped my bones to knit. xxxxh

  5. @E - so far, the starting small thing seems to be working - and I'm trying to break my work into manageable bits, as that seems to work much better. A nasty side-effect of the unimaginable happening, is that suddenly all the other dread unimaginable things seem equally likely.

    And no, the last poem I memorised was a french poem in about 1991, so I was amazed that my brain could actually still do it. It took a while, but I think I know it properly now - and discovered so many new small things about the poem in the process.

    @Schroedinger - thanks lovey. The weeping is settling down - I think a lot of it was the shock of so much time in my own company, as El Prima was away for the weekend and I missed her so much. It is so odd, I feel like I swing from callously okay to soggy and fragile so quickly. Such a strange rollercoaster. And yet I still feel like a completely different person from that other me from before the accident. But I do feel like I resemble her, and I'm building this experience, our daughter and our loss, into a new version of her.

  6. I wish I had something wonderful to say... but today words are failing me. I just wanted to say I'm still listening, and I hope things get better for you each day.

  7. No worries Chris - thanks for being here. And lots of things are getting better, but sometimes they knock me for six. xx