To Give To The Light

Jubilant vibrations

in the part of her

that's now child.

~ Robert Bagg, from Cello Suite

In the Garden, 1895, Claude Monet


Poem Wondering if I’m Pregnant  

~ Kathleen Fraser


Is it you? Are you there,

thief I can’t see,


leaving me at the edge

of breathing?

New mystery floating up my left arm,

clinging to the curtain.


Eyes on stalks, full of pollen,

stem juice, petals making ready to unfold,

to be set in a white window,

or an empty courtyard.

Fingers fresh. And cranium,

a clean architecture

with doors

that swing open…

is it you, penny face?

Is it you?



Sant'Anna, la Vergine e il Bambino,   Leonardo Da Vinci

Sant'Anna, la Vergine e il Bambino, Leonardo Da Vinci

Le Rêve,   Henri Rousseau

Le Rêve, Henri Rousseau


Spell for Inviting-in the New Soul

~ Jane Hirshfield


Shy one,

small donkey, come forward.

Let world be cradle.


Fish drifting, enter weight gladly.

Trust passage.


If suffering will chant you,

if terror,

in pine dark, deer breathing.

In sea-bench’s sorrow gills salt-light.


Know owl-cries your forelock.

Know leaf-scent, know cities, know rivers,

doorways stand open.

In ice-grip, know muskrat’s strong swimming.

Let asking.


Let losing and breaking, let weather.

Let entrance entirely.

Desires bray sweet in the ladders of loudness.


Shy one, small donkey, trust hoof-fall

Seeds wait to ride on your ankles,

five baskets

of apple sleep guardian.


The bridle placed heavy wears bell-sounds.

Agreeing come forward.



For My Wife

~Steven Lautermilch


We are being born again,

getting second breath in skin and bone, vein

and artery, that once in grunion milt by sea and riverbed

died to take to air.


Through you I find new sight, see the egg

face to face, know the fish, grasp the tree and vine and

blossoming play the ape, to pay out more, still

more this cord our life-line, into time, into space.


With such grace you grow awkward, pantomime and trance

the moon and tides in their slow dance around the earth.

And then, delivered and light, how you shine,

how you shine.



Deux Nus,   Jean Metziger

Deux Nus, Jean Metziger


Sleep of Innocence, Silvestro Lega

Sleep of Innocence, Silvestro Lega


Expecting ~ Kevin Young

Grave, my wife lies back, hands cross
her chest, while the doctor searches early
for your heartbeat, peach pit, unripe

plum–pulls out the world’s worst
boom box, a Mr. Microphone, to broadcast
your mother’s lifting belly.

The whoosh and bellows of mama’s body
and beneath it: nothing. Beneath
the slow stutter of her heart: nothing.

The doctor trying again to find you, fragile
fern, snowflake. Nothing.
After, my wife will say, in fear,

impatient, she went beyond her body,
this tiny room, into the ether–
for now, we spelunk for you one last time

lost canary, miner of coal
and chalk, lungs not yet black–
I hold my wife’s feet to keep her here–

and me–trying not to dive starboard
to seek you in the dark water. And there
it is: faint, an echo, faster and further

away than mother’s, all beat box
and fuzzy feedback. You are like hearing
hip-hop for the first time–power

hijacked from a lamppost–all promise.
You couldn’t sound better, break-
dancer, my favorite song bumping

from a passing car. You’ve snuck
into the club underage and stayed!
Only later, much, will your mother

begin to believe your drumming
in the distance–my Kansas City
and Congo Square, this jazz band

vamping on inside her.



Upon Seeing an Ultrasound Photo

of an Unborn Child ~ Thomas Lux

Tadpole, it's not time yet to nag you
about college (though I have some thoughts
on that), baseball (ditto), or abstract
principles. Enjoy your delicious,
soupy womb-warmth, do some rolls and saults
(it'll be too crowded soon), delight in your early
dreams — which no one will attempt to analyze.
For now: may your toes blossom, your fingers
lengthen, your sexual organs grow (too soon
to tell which yet) sensitive, your teeth
form their buds in their forming jawbone, your already
booming heart expand (literally
now, metaphorically later); O your spine,
eyebrows, nape, knees, fibulae,
lungs, lips... But your soul,
dear child: I don't see it here, when
does that come in, whence? Perhaps God,
and your mother, and even I — we'll all contribute
and you'll learn yourself to coax it
from wherever: your soul, which holds your bones
together and lets you live
on earth. — Fingerling, sidecar, nubbin,
I'm waiting, it's me, Dad,
I'm out here. You already know
where Mom is. I'll see you more directly
upon arrival. You'll recognize
me — I'll be the tall-seeming, delighted
blond guy, and I'll have
your nose. 




Gypsy Woman and Baby, Amedeo Modigliani

Gypsy Woman and Baby, Amedeo Modigliani

Mother and Child on a Couch, James Abbott McNeill Whistler

Mother and Child on a Couch, James Abbott McNeill Whistler


Naming the Baby

~ Faith Shearin


When you are dreaming of the name


you are also dreaming of who they

might be. They are invented in darkness—

under cloak of skin—and, for the better

part of a year, are a swelling

or a set of symptoms. The name

books are like a box of chocolates

and when you open them you see

how many kinds there really are.

There are names of people you

have known and disliked and names

that make the wrong sounds and names

that suggest your child will be

like everyone else’s. There are names

that turn your child into a character

in a novel and names that recall

the time when your great-grandmother

was young. Naming the baby is a way

of dreaming about a creature who is

almost but not quite. It is a way of

imagining the soul of a person you

are making but have not made.

The name is the first way you see

the baby: their title, the syllables

that conjure a shape from the lantern.





Fertility ~ Joan Rohr Myers


It is now, when the whole jar

Of humidity has been poured on me

Like wet petals, and there is no question

Of dryness anywhere, that I am most close

to everything alive; the wet breath

That links leaves and sky to my lungs

Reaches deep inside my body and stirs

The silent seeds of all I hold dear,

And you, like the powerful muscle

We call heart, grow stronger within me.



The Flower Girl, Sir James Jebusa Shannon

The Flower Girl, Sir James Jebusa Shannon

Beneath the Apple Tree, Daniel Ridgeway Knight

Beneath the Apple Tree, Daniel Ridgeway Knight


Young Apple Tree, December

~ Gail Mazur


What you want for it you’d want

for a child: that she take hold;

that her roots find home in stony


winter soil; that she take seasons

in stride, seasons that shape and

reshape her; that like a dancer’s,


her limbs grow pliant, graceful

and surprising; that she know,

in her branchings, to seek balance;


that she know when to flower, when

to wait for the returns; that she turn

to a giving sun; that she know


fruit as it ripens; that what’s lost

to her will be replaced; that early

summer afternoons, a full blossoming


tree, she cast lacy shadows; that change

not frighten her, rather that change

meet her embrace; that remembering


her small history, she find her place

in an orchard; that she be her own

orchard; that she outlast you;


that she prepare for the hungry world

(the fallen world, the loony world)

something shapely, useful, new, delicious.




A Newborn Girl at Passover

~ Nan Cohen


Consider one apricot in a basket of them.
It is very much like all the other apricots--
an individual already, skin and seed.

Now think of this day. One you will probably forget.
The next breath you take, a long drink of air.
Holiday or not, it doesn't matter.

A child is born and doesn't know what day it is.
The particular joy in my heart she cannot imagine.
The taste of apricots is in store for her. 


The Summer Steps,   René Magritte

The Summer Steps, René Magritte

Curtain Jug and Fruit, Paul Cezanne

Curtain Jug and Fruit, Paul Cezanne


Green Apples ~ Ruth Stone


In August we carried the old horsehair mattress

To the back porch

And slept with our children in a row.

The wind came up the mountain into the orchard

Telling me something;

Saying something was urgent.

I was happy.

The green apples fell on the sloping roof

And rattled down.

The wind was shaking me all night long;

Shaking me in my sleep

Like a definition of love,

Saying, this is the moment,

Here, now.




This Moment ~ Eavan Boland


A neighbourhood

at dusk.

Things are getting ready

to happen out

of sight.

Stars and moths.

And rinds slanting around fruit.

But not yet.

One tree is black.

One window is yellow as butter.

A woman leans down to catch a child

who has run into her arms

this moment.

Stars rise.

Moths flutter.

Apples sweeten in the dark.


Pine House, Peter Doig

Pine House, Peter Doig

Untitled #216,   Cindy Sherman

Untitled #216, Cindy Sherman

For the Children ~ Gary Snyder


The rising hills, the slopes,
of statistics
lie before us.
the steep climb
of everything, going up,
up, as we all
go down.In the next century
or the one beyond that,
they say,
are valleys, pastures,
we can meet there in peace
if we make it.To climb these coming crests
one word to you, to
you and your children:stay together
learn the flowers
go light