friday roundup: more on working parents, naporevmo update, and Night-Pieces

photo from Spirit Rover; public domain from NASA via wikimedia

Happy Friday, all. I “slept in” — it’s already 5:30 — so let’s begin the roundup without further adieu:

more on working parents  We had quite a discussion on parenthood and work earlier this week. I enjoyed hearing from everyone who commented — thanks. My sister-in-law and I were talking about it more and we agreed that no matter how you choose to be family, there is always some ambivalence and uncertainty — are we doing this right? And it’s always hard and exhausting (though not without a joyful element). Also, parenting brings one into daily confrontation with one’s flaws and imperfections. When one is feeling ambivalent, flawed and exhausted, it’s all too easy to try to justify one’s own choice by denigrating those who’ve made a different choice. Perhaps I should’ve added one more article to the treaty: let us all attempt to live peacefully in the mess of it.

I also heard from people who have chosen not to have children, who receive their fair share of comments and insults because of that choice. Corollary to Article 4: we will honor the life choices of all people, parents or not.

naporevmo update  Those who have been reading along know that I set a goal for myself to accomplish one revision a day during national poetry month. I’m happy to say I’ve kept up so far. The hardest part has been leaving one poem for the next — revision could be an infinite process, no? The thing I haven’t kept up on is submissions. I’ve sent out only a handful of packets since the first of the year. Perhaps that can be my next pledge to myself — a submission a day for May?

Night-Pieces And speaking of putting children to bed, and feeling our flaws and imperfections, and ambivalence about our choices, here is a poem by Adrienne Rich from Necessities of Life. In my reading of this poem, mother and child become actors in the bad dreams of the other — not much of a stretch for any parent “swaddled in a dumb dark”:

Night-pieces: For a Child

1. The Crib

You sleeping I bend to cover.
Your eyelids work. I see
your dream, cloudy as a negative,
swimming underneath.
You blurt a cry. Your eyes
spring open, still filmed in a dream.
Wider, they fix me —
–death’s head, sphinx, medusa?
You scream.
Tears lick my cheeks, my knees
droop at your fear.
Mother I no more am,
but woman, and nightmare.

2. Her Waking

Tonight I jerk astart in a dark
hourless as Hiroshima,
almost hearing you breathe
in a cot three doors away.

You still breathe, yes —
and my dream with its gift of knives,
its murderous hider and seeker,
ebbs away, recoils

back into the egg of dreams,
the vanishing point of mind.
All gone.

But you and I —
swaddled in a dumb dark
old as sickheartedness,
modern as pure annihilation —

we drift in ignorance.
If I could hear you now
mutter some gentle animal sound!
If milk flowed from my breast again…

Reader, that’s it for today’s roundup. Happy Friday, happy weekend, and may all your dreams be happy ones. Thanks for reading!

4 thoughts on “friday roundup: more on working parents, naporevmo update, and Night-Pieces

  1. GOOD for you for keeping it up all month. You inspire me.
    Also: I love that you include photos from NASA. I can’t remember if I told you that my thesis was poetry inspired by NASA images, though I don’t think I used the one you have here (I’ve mentally titled it “Hen and Chick”). I still have a little dream to publish a collection of those, though when I was done with thesis I needed to put it down for a while. 🙂

    • Mary, I’ve heard MFA theses can be that way 🙂 But I hope you do publish a collection from your thesis — I for one would love to read it.

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