Sunday, October 21, 2018

OctPoWriMo Day 20: Threnody

I thought over today's prompt - 'Time stands still' - on the bus the entire way home. It had the potential to go in a lot of directions, it's a fantastic prompt, but my mind latched onto a) Kitty Mao, the pregnant stray cat living downstairs who's adopted me, who's about to have her kittens in maybe 3 weeks' time b) my friends who have had miscarriages.

I also wanted to do a Minute Poem as well, but the Loop Poem Variant seemed to fit subject matter and the flow a lot better, so I went with that instead. 


[Threnody]: A wailing ode, song, hymn or poem of mourning composed or performed as a memorial to a dead person.


If I could freeze time -
time it precisely with the tip of a finger
finger-dial like a rotary telephone, all the way back -
back to the day they carved
carved dead life from my womb.
Womb-dead. They said -
said I could never conceive another child.

Child. My cat births her kittens in a squall of blood.
Blood, afterbirth, life. These squalling lumps,
lumps of knitted cells stitched together by fur
fur licked slick-wet, thin piercing mewls
mewls carving the air into furrows
furrows like womb scars. If I could –

could freeze time, time it precisely with the tip of a finger
finger-dial like a rotary telephone, all the way back –
back to the day they carved
carved dead life from my womb, to exchange -
exchange these squalling lumps,
lumps of life, for those pieces
pieces of you, of me, crusted and dead, on the glittering,
glittering razor edge of a cold, aloof scalpel.


ms_lili said...

poetry, a window into a soul...

Varadharajan said...

Beautiful word-play and haunting imagery. This is great poetry.

Shuku said...

Jade: Thank you so much! I was hesitant to write it at first, but it *was* a loop poem, and on-theme. I've had so many friends who have gone through miscarriages, and I've been thinking about them a lot recently.

Varad: Thank you! I'm glad you liked it, as difficult a piece as it is.

Esther Spurrill-Jones said...

Wow. This gave me chills. It's amazing.

Shuku said...

Esther, what a lovely compliment! Thank you so much <3

paeansunplugged said...

Poignant and heartbreaking

Shuku said...

Thank you <3 I had a friend who nearly lost her newborn recently - she had to have an operation that saved her life. I guess I've been thinking about that a lot, which might be why this poem insisted on being written.

Namratha Varadharajan said...

Stark visuals and loop poem really gives it an added effect. The grief of the would have been mother really come to the forefront in this poem.

Shuku said...

Thank you so much for reading it Namy. I'm glad it works, I was afraid it might not!

Jane Dougherty said...

It's a good poem. It leaves an image in the mind, the linking of miscarriage to the birth of the kittens. It's all bloody and horrible and often babies, kittens or otherwise die. You said it well.

Shuku said...

Kitty Mao (the stray downstairs who's claimed me as Her Human Catfriend) is almost 7 weeks along, and I've been worrying about her, as I know she's had kittens before, and all but one survived. You're right - it's all bloody and horrible, and scary, and deeply painful.

Unknown said...

Heartfelt feelings

Kerfe Roig said...

Life and death, always on the edge of each other. Miscarriage is one of those things we don't have a proper way of even speaking about, let alone offering aid and comfort for. Your words give it a voice. (K)

Christine Bolton said...

That was incredibly beautiful. I felt both life and loss. 🙂💕

Cara H said...

A very powerful piece. I had an early miscarriage when my son was about a year and a half old. My marriage was falling apart and I was under a lot of stress, so I didn't really feel much about it except for a vague regret. At this point, I'm preparing to have a hysterectomy in December because my uterus is full of polyps and benign tumors. I don't really care about losing it. The question in my mind about whether I'll still be a woman once it's gone comes from society, not from me.
It's heartbreaking when a person who wants a child suffers a miscarriage. Many people don't understand the deep sense of loss it can cause.

Shuku said...

Thank you so much!

Kerfe: <3 I tried, because it felt important. I hope it worked.

Christine: Thank you for reading it! I'm glad it evoked both sides of the equation...

Cara: I hear you on the people not understanding. I've seen it happen to good friends. People don't know how to respond, and that's a damn shame, it makes things worse and produces all kinds of guilt.

Sunita Prasad said...

Shuku, your poem brought back what I lost decades ago. Those horrid indecisive times. Left me choked this piece of yours. A storm in my heart.

Shuku said...

Sunita, I can't even begin to imagine how you got through day by day. When my mother had her miscarriage, we didn't talk about it - we didn't know how. That you've managed to get through it stronger than you were before is just another testament to how amazing a person you are!

Merril D. Smith said...

Oh gosh---this is so stark so beautifully stark. I'm a bit teary. As others have said birth and blood and often death all mixed together.

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