It all began when the ultra-talented Ruth wrote a post about a beautiful stained-glass mandala by Stratoz. I wrote a comment telling her about the ten-centimeter birth mandala I was given when I was pregnant with my first child. I went on to say that I was about to give a birth mandala as a gift and would it not be great if she wrote a companion poem for it? I sent her the image of the mandala I downloaded from Mandala Coloring Pages and colored using PhotoShop, The blues and yellow are a nod to the expecting mother’s Swedish heritage.
“act as a catalyst to awaken our true, deep, pure nature... Koans are not rational questions with rational answers. Koans are NOT answered; that would engage the mind, which is our problem…A question like “what is the sound of one hand clapping?” can only be answered if you drop mind and body. The aim of a Koan is to free you from the prison of the mind and the five senses...to return to “the original face before you were born.”I can not imagine a more apt form to inspire a young woman in labor. Thank you, dear Ruth, for sharing your considerable talents with the world.
Koan-like Questions of a Mother to her Unborn Child
Is there something quieter than sleep?
My whispers circle you like jasmine vine, the wayWhere is the pocket in the nightshirt of early morning?
my arms want to, when my palm will cup your head,
my thumb in the shallow petal of your temple.
You didn’t notice just now that I turned over in bed, rollingWhat shape are you?
first onto my right side, then onto my left.
Leaves everywhere on blue-white cotton.
In my teardrop body you sleep, sucking your thumb —What is grace?
puzzle piece in the circle of your mouth.
Paisley baby, paisley thumb,
paisley me, paisley breast. Lace.
I pull myself up, like a camel, into a sitting position,Do you remember it, that hymn from the old church
lean left, push off, grunt, rise, stand, and low into the sway
of this me, your cradle, creaking at my hips.
through the window as we slowly climbed the stair?
Holding the bedpost, carved like an altar,Can you see me in the dark?
my eyes closed, up from the organ
in my chest the music — unnamed song
through the vibrating reed of my watery throat.
Stained glass moon. Bosphorus.
My hand rests on the olive of your shoulder,
or is that a heel? Hush, keep sleeping, don’t worry
about positions. You are touching everything
in any case.
Mountain magnolia blossom.
Listen to a podcast of this poem here. (You can hear the birds outside Ruth's office window if you listen carefully.)
Caravanserai: the fortress-like hostelries for sojourners on the Silk Road.
Bosphorus: the body of water between the European and Asian sides of Istanbul; 'bosphorus' means 'throat' in Turkish; Ruth's daughter Lesley went to school on the European side, crossing the Bosphorus every morning and evening from and to her home on the Asian side.
"He is finally here! And my beautiful daughter is just absolutely amazing. I am in awe of her grace, calmness and determination. She has a warrior spirit and inner strength that helped her deliver a beautiful baby boy. It was truly awesome! I will send a few pics tomorrow but I am exhausted and heading for sleep. Thank you all for your kind words of encouragement for my daughter. We felt the power of this women-spirit!"
He arrived at 4:02 PM , weighing in at 7lbs 13 ounces, 20 inches long and healthy, alert, and absolutely beautiful! Would you not agree?
|Welcome to the world!|
Now this mandala has come full circle. Ruth made her grand announcement that she too will be joining the ranks of grandparenthood.