"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.

Monday, July 11, 2011

It's not just the weather (begging for poems)

The greyness has got its hands on me, dragging on every piece of clothing, slowing my brain. And even better, when I look around and ask why thing are so low and heavy at the moment, the greyness answers back (in my own voice) - it's YOU - just boring, sad, can't get anything right old YOU. Sad little tried-to-have-a-baby-but-lost-her, who-knows-if-she'll-have-another-one, probably-won't-ever-finish-that-phd-or-publish-another-article-again YOU. No wonder you're depressed, given that you're so crap at everything.

And, gullible girl that I am, I've been believing it.

Bloody dementors.

Can ask - what are your favourite words for unslumping yourself?  Do you have a spare poem to share? All donations heartfully accepted.

Here's my usual favourite - but it's not doing the trick today unfortunately.

A True Account of Talking to the Sun at Fire Island
By Frank O'Hara

The Sun woke me this morning loud
and clear, saying “Hey! I've been
trying to wake you up for fifteen
minutes. Don’t be so rude, you are
only the second poet I’ve ever chosen
to speak to personally
so why
aren’t you more attentive? If I could
burn you through the window I would
to wake you up. I can't hang around
here all day.”
“Sorry, Sun, I stayed
up late last night talking to Hal.”

“When I woke up Mayakovsky he was
a lot more prompt” the Sun said
petulantly. “Most people are up
already waiting to see if I’m going
to put in an appearance.”
I tried
to apologize “I missed you yesterday.”
“That’s better” he said. “I didn’t
know you’d come out.” “You may be
wondering why I’ve come so close?”
“Yes” I said beginning to feel hot
wondering if maybe he wasn’t burning me
“Frankly I wanted to tell you
I like your poetry. I see a lot
on my rounds and you’re okay. You may
not be the greatest thing on earth, but
you’re different. Now, I’ve heard some
say you’re crazy, they being excessively
calm themselves to my mind, and other
crazy poets think that you’re a boring
reactionary. Not me.
Just keep on
like I do and pay no attention. You’ll
find that people always will complain
about the atmosphere, either too hot
or too cold too bright or too dark, days
too short or too long.
If you don’t appear
at all one day they think you’re lazy
or dead. Just keep right on, I like it.

And don’t worry about your lineage
poetic or natural. The Sun shines on
the jungle, you know, on the tundra
the sea, the ghetto. Wherever you were
I knew it and saw you moving. I was waiting
for you to get to work.

And now that you
are making your own days, so to speak,
even if no one reads you but me
you won’t be depressed. Not
everyone can look up, even at me. It
hurts their eyes.”
“Oh Sun, I’m so grateful to you!”

“Thanks and remember I’m watching. It’s
easier for me to speak to you out
here. I don’t have to slide down
between buildings to get your ear.
I know you love Manhattan, but
you ought to look up more often.
always embrace things, people earth
sky stars, as I do, freely and with
the appropriate sense of space. That
is your inclination, known in the heavens
and you should follow it to hell, if
necessary, which I doubt.
Maybe we’ll
speak again in Africa, of which I too
am specially fond. Go back to sleep now
Frank, and I may leave a tiny poem
in that brain of yours as my farewell.”

“Sun, don’t go!” I was awake
at last. “No, go I must, they’re calling
“Who are they?”
Rising he said “Some
day you’ll know. They’re calling to you
too.” Darkly he rose, and then I slept.


  1. I am sort of ashamed I had never read it before, but the film brought this to me. I think it is wonderful.


    Out of the night that covers me,
    Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
    I thank whatever gods may be
    For my unconquerable soul.

    In the fell clutch of circumstance
    I have not winced nor cried aloud.
    Under the bludgeonings of chance
    My head is bloody, but unbowed.

    Beyond this place of wrath and tears
    Looms but the Horror of the shade,
    And yet the menace of the years
    Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

    It matters not how strait the gate,
    How charged with punishments the scroll.
    I am the master of my fate:
    I am the captain of my soul.

  2. i have never been one for poems....I am reading an adventure story - not high literature by any means, but i liked it. it said that the mind has 4 doors to protect itself from trauma; sleep, remembering (or hiding memories), madness and finally death - while not necessarily uplifting in itself i liked it cause until recently i have fallen into deep deep sleep without noise in my head, a sort of blissful numbness. now as my sleep is not so deep and things are slipping into it and making it complicated, i wonder if the waves of sadness and depression that come are the doors opening and releasing bits of your trauma as it feels you can deal with it....

    thats me being optimistic. in any case sending kisses and hugs


  3. I've never much been for poetry, and I confess, I'm kind of crap at cheering myself up. I usually instead try to find things that describe my mood. Not really the best. But when I'm trying to give myself a boost, I like to listen to "The Middle" by Jimmy Eat World (I know, cheesy, at least here in the US where it was SUPER popular for a while), and "Drive" by Incubus.

    Sometimes, I feel the fear of uncertainty stinging clear
    And I can't help but ask myself how much I let the fear
    Take the wheel and steer
    It's driven me before
    And it seems to have a vague, haunting mass appeal
    But lately I'm beginning to find that I
    Should be the one behind the wheel

    Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there
    With open arms and open eyes yeah

    (etc etc)

  4. You tell those dementors to pipe down. Nasty things, peddling their lies.

    I like the poem you've chosen. It's just made my day a little brighter.

    I tend to go for short these days as my concentration span isn't great! So here are my contributions, short but sweet.

    Candy is dandy but liquor is quicker by Ogden Nash never fails to raise a smile from me.

    The tiny fish enjoy themselves in the sea. Quick little splinters of life, their little lives are fun to them in the sea. D H Lawrence. I'm sure it probably has some deep and portentous meaning but I just like the idea of all those little fish, bopping about and having fun.

    Best of luck with the unslumpification my dear xo

  5. I like Lucille Clifton's "these hips," and also "won't you celebrate with me":

    won't you celebrate with me
    what i have shaped into
    a kind of life? i had no model.
    born in babylon
    both nonwhite and woman
    what did i see to be except myself?
    i made it up
    here on this bridge between
    starshine and clay,
    my one hand holding tight
    my one hand; come celebrate
    with me that everyday
    something has tried to kill me
    and has failed.

    Best of luck with unslumping. Listening to Rodrigo and Gabriella or Kirsty McColl sometimes helps get me going, too.

  6. I can not even begin to compete with the poems offered so far.

    All I can say is work on your Patronus charm and make those damned dementors go away!

  7. Thank you so much dear ones! Beautiful words & thoughts. Even just pointing the finger at those dementors and pinning down their nasty voices helps.

  8. Beautiful poems. This is the one I always go to when I am feeling angry, indignant and want to smile:

    For the Jim Crow Mexican Restaurant in Cambridge, Massachusetts Where My Cousin Esteban Was Forbidden to Wait Tables Because He Wears Dreadlocks
    By Martín Espada

    I have noticed that the hostess in peasant dress,
    the wait staff and the boss
    share the complexion of a flour tortilla.
    I have spooked the servers at my table
    by trilling the word burrito.
    I am aware of your T-shirt solidarity
    with the refugees of the Americas,
    since they steam in your kitchen.
    I know my cousin Esteban the sculptor
    rolled tortillas in your kitchen with the fingertips
    of ancestral Puerto Rican cigarmakers.
    I understand he wanted to be a waiter,
    but you proclaimed his black dreadlocks unclean,
    so he hissed in Spanish
    and his apron collapsed on the floor.
    May La Migra handcuff the wait staff
    as suspected illegal aliens from Canada;
    may a hundred mice dive from the oven
    like diminutive leaping dolphins
    during your Board of Health inspection;
    may the kitchen workers strike, sitting
    with folded hands as enchiladas blacken
    and twisters of smoke panic the customers;
    may a Zapatista squadron commander the refrigerator,
    liberating a pillar of tortillas at gunpoint;
    may you hallucinate dreadlocks
    braided in thick vines around your ankles;
    and may the Aztec gods pinned like butterflies
    to the menu wait for you in the parking lot
    at midnight, demanding that you spell their names.

    I also love Frank O'Hara's poem Lana Turner Has Collapsed. And another that never ever fails to make me smile is Jack Kerouac's I'd Rather be Thin Than Famous. I used to have a recording of it, so I searched You Tube, and of course, someone posted it. Bless the Internets. http://youtu.be/KYFeK72CIwY

  9. Lana Turner Has Collapsed is wonderful - I hadn't read that in years!

    H, I send you poems as I find them so don't have any inspiration on the spot.

    Barbara Temperton's Southern Edge is incredible; you can down load a sample from the e-book page: http://www.fremantlepress.com.au/books/1179. I have the book if you'd like to borrow it.

    I think you'd also like Elizabeth Bachinsky.

  10. Also, when I am down I have you for inspiration. You are my rock. x

  11. it's cheesey, but i keep going back to dickinson.

    Hope is the thing with feathers
    That perches in the soul,
    And sings the tune without the words,
    And never stops at all,

    And sweetest in the gale is heard;
    And sore must be the storm
    That could abash the little bird
    That kept so many warm.

    I've heard it in the chilliest land
    And on the strangest sea;
    Yet, never, in extremity,
    It asked a crumb of me.

  12. I'm kind of embarrassed to admit this but I don't know much about poetry at all, unless you count lyrics to music. I am very shyly putting this out here. It is from Shel Silverstein, yes, the children's author;
    For unslumping:

    Where the Sidewalk Ends

    There is a place where the sidewalk ends
    And before the street begins,
    And there the grass grows soft and white,
    And there the sun burns crimson bright,
    And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
    To cool in the peppermint wind.

    Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
    And the dark street winds and bends.
    Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
    We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
    And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
    To the place where the sidewalk ends.


  13. i've been to that restaurant, STA, and i LOVE the poem. perfect!

    sometimes amy bloom's stories buoy me along. as for poems that do, well, there's always archy and mehitabel. i especially love this one:


    nb, if you don't know: archy is a cockroach.

    archy interviews a pharaoh

    By Don Marquis, in "archy and mehitabel," 1927

    boss i went
    and interviewed the mummy
    of the egyptian pharaoh
    in the metropolitan museum
    as you bade me to do

    what ho
    my regal leatherface
    says i

    little scatter footed
    says he

    kingly has been
    says i
    what was your ambition
    when you had any

    and journalistic insect
    says the royal crackling
    in my tender prime
    i was too dignified
    to have anything as vulgar
    as ambition
    the ra ra boys
    in the seti set
    were too haughty
    to be ambitious
    we used to spend our time
    feeding the ibises
    and ordering
    pyramids sent home to try on
    but if i had my life
    to live over again
    i would give dignity
    the regal razz
    and hire myself out
    to work in a brewery

    old tan and tarry
    says i
    i detect in your speech
    the overtones
    of melancholy

    yes i am sad
    says the majestic mackerel
    i am as sad
    as the song
    of a soudanese jackal
    who is wailing for the blood red
    moon he cannot reach and rip

    on what are you brooding
    with such a wistful
    there in the silences
    confide in me
    my perial pretzel
    says i

    i brood on beer
    my scampering whiffle snoot
    on beer says he

    my sympathies
    are with your royal
    dryness says i

    my little pest
    says he
    you must be respectful
    in the presence
    of a mighty desolation
    little archy
    forty centuries of thirst
    look down upon you

    oh by isis
    and by osiris
    says the princely raisin
    and by pish and phthush and phthah
    by the sacred book perembru
    and all the gods
    that rule from the upper
    cataract of the nile
    to the delta of the duodenum
    i am dry
    i am as dry
    as the next morning mouth
    of a dissipated desert
    as dry as the hoofs
    of the camels of timbuctoo
    little fussy face
    i am as dry as the heart
    of a sand storm
    at high noon in hell
    i have been lying here
    and there
    for four thousand years
    with silicon in my esophagus
    as gravel in my gizzard
    of beer

    divine drouth
    says i
    imperial fritter
    continue to think
    there is no law against
    that in this country
    old salt codfish
    if you keep quiet about it
    not yet

    what country is this
    asks the poor prune

    my reverend juicelessness
    this is a beerless country
    says i

    well well said the royal
    my political opponents back home
    always maintained
    that i would wind up in hell
    and it seems they had the right dope

    and with these hopeless words
    the unfortunate residuum
    gave a great cough of despair
    and turned to dust and debris
    right in my face
    it being the only time
    i ever actually saw anybody
    put the cough
    into sarcophagus

    dear boss as i scurry about
    i hear of a great many
    tragedies in our midsts
    personally i yearn
    for some dear friend to pass over
    and leave to me
    a boot legacy
    yours for the second coming
    of gambrinus