Monday, June 22, 2009

Two Daughters

No one gets this far along in life without some sorrow. I've been digging around through drawers looking for something that I just can't find. Along the way I've come across decades-old letters from youthful friends (now grandmothers), ancient Christmas cards from those gone for many years now, and notebooks full of things that I wrote long ago.

This is my poem about the loss of two of my daughters. They were two very different kinds of losses; one, a little baby who died right after birth; the other, a disturbed, angry, and damaged teenager, adopted well after she had been hurt by those who should have been caring for her. The lines in italics are from lullabies that I sang to both of them.

Two Daughters


Makes me think about loss
And the babies missing from my life

Don’t you cry

The one who died and the one who just went away...
So many people getting in the way

Go to sleep, my little baby

I see those well-meaning arms reaching out

When you wake

Taking my daughters down long institutional halls
And never bringing them back to me

You will see

Prodding, cutting, taking, excusing, burning, blowing the ashes away,
Analyzing, formulating, theorizing, reporting, and taking and taking and taking

All the pretty little horses

Now I am wondering how we let other people
Take over and take away the people who belong to us

Where’d you leave your lamb

In night-time partings without a single touch good-bye

Away down yonder in the valley

And when the moon is full
And the nights are long and I am awake forever

The bees and the butterflies

I am trying to imagine your lives
And I wonder if you get afraid

Are flitting ‘round its eyes

The way I do

And the poor little thing is crying


Sylvia K said...

The words are beautiful, and they are also heartbreaking! I can only imagine your pain. Thanks for sharing and I hope in doing so, it does ease the pain I can hear so clearly.

Jean (aka Auntie Bucksnort) said...

I can't imagine surviving such a deep tragic loss, not once but twice. You're a strong woman, my sister. The love that you gave these two children and continue to give to the rest of us has made the world a better place. You are the most optimistic person I know and I'm really not sure how you do it but one thing's for sure - it comes from the heart.

clairz said...

Dear, kind Sylvia and Jean,
Thank you for your lovely comments. I really hesitated about posting something so personal (and sad!) because I didn't want people to feel badly or to think that I was seeking sympathy.

These losses occurred years ago and, although always a sad part of my life, have eventually started to blend into the whole melange of life experiences that everyone goes through--not just me.

Writing is so cathartic, no?

Val said...

This is beautiful....

Judy said...

My sister recently lost her daughter and I see every day the toll it is taking on her and her sadness. Your post today is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing this with us. I enjoyed your comment on my post, too. I have my fingers crossed that you sell your house!