Monday, February 16, 2009

safe places...


poetry has been following me around these days. i love it. i’ve yet to make sense of it, maybe the thing is to just enjoy. this photo above is of the poet nikki giovanni.

i once heard maya angelou, another writer and poet speak. she talked about the love and care that her grandmother gave her always and unconditionally. maya angelou talked about the power of love, and if for some reason someone in hearing distance did not have a loving mother or grandmother, she shares the love of her grandmother with everyone. this i remember because it resonated with me.

i’ve shared the heartbreaks and disappointments i have and continue to experience with my mother. she called just the other day with nothing loving or caring to share. i now speak my quiet truth. as a girl i would just try to grin and bear it. it has been many years of inner searching and growth, but i am thankful for finding my way to peace. when she accuses me of a thing that she makes up in her head, i simply say respectfully, ‘that’s not true.’ and i fill in the truth. not only is this healthy and liberating for me as a woman, i take great gratefulness in feeling like i’m protecting the little girl that i was. i didn’t know how to do it back when i was a little girl, but i can sure do it now.

as people for the most part don’t change, i’ve given up on the ‘fantasy’ of having a loving and supportive mother who thinks i’m the ‘cat’s pajamas.’ and as mentioned it frees up a lot of energy for me to go on in my efforts to be/come the woman i hope to be.

but i always remember maya angelou saying that day that i can share in the abundant love that her grandmother showered upon her. and i share in a mother’s love in other ways. each time a friend of mine is excited about seeing or talking to her mother, i draw on that love and care. i am remembering that love is not exclusive. it’s kind of like air, or the scent of a sweet rose, when it’s in the air, all who are near are touched and moved, comforted and inspired.

i began thinking about this because i saw the poet nikki giovanni on the television show bill moyers journal. i love bill moyers, among his interest in culture and politics, he is a fan of poetry as well. nikki spoke of many an interesting thing that she’s experienced in the sixty five years that she has lived so far, from the love her mother and grandmother and grandfather showered upon her, to her days as a revolutionary poet during the civil rights movement, to her having a crush on barack obama and having the gift of recently falling in love all over again at the age of sixty five. she shares that we have to remember that living life is still a good idea.

nikki giovanni’s mother and sister passed not so long ago. she speaks of how much she loved them and still misses them. she says that sometimes she just wants to call her mother and hear her voice. when she has hard days, her mother was the one to talk her down, make sense of it all, and simply comfort her. nikki talks about how love never dies, it simply changes energy. sometimes when she’s sleeping and sometimes when she’s dreaming she feels the feeling that she feels when she is remembering her love of her mother.

i, i close my eyes and i open my heart, and in these moments i know what it is like when a child is lovingly cared for and comforted by her mother. the love that is in the air is for us all and i intend to have my share.

love story made a little longer in my play with poetry and love and the comfort and care of a mother’s love… as i have many of nikki giovanni’s books on poetry. and as she has a new book of poetry out now, i was thinking i have enough poems by nikki. i need not buy another book. but i was mistaken. as she is lovely and brilliant how can one have enough…

kidnap poem by nikki giovanni

ever been kidnapped
by a poet
if i were a poet
i'd kidnap you
put you in my phrases and meter
you to jones beach
or maybe coney island
or maybe just to my house
lyric you in lilacs
dash you in the rain
blend into the beach
to complement my see
play the lyre for you
ode you with my love song
anything to win you
wrap you in the red black green
show you off to mama
yeah if i were a poet i'd kid
nap you

6 comments:

Here, There, Elsewhere... and more said...

Beautiful, extremely honest, sincere and moving post - whew, your words brought a lump to my throat...
Hope you have a great week..:)

La Belette Rouge said...

I so relate. It sounds as if our mother's phone calls have similar content. My grandmother was one of my few safe places in my life. I feel lucky to have had a place to be consistently loved.

I am sorry that your mother doesn't see you that you are the cat's pajamas. I do.

Anonymous said...

Are we sisters?
My mother was a bit disappointing too - now and then - as was her mother to her...
Thank God for sweet sisters!
I am not a mom, I was born without ovaries. Maybe its God's way of ending that cycle.

Susu said...

I think that you're right in protecting yourself. It's like "a revenge on your past" - now you can do something about things, and now you can be in control of the situation - unlike when a child. Mother-daughter -relationships are so delicate - often times they are so full of all kinds of emotions that can be challenging to live.

Lavinia said...

So much wisdom here. I love how you write that letting go of the disappointment frees up energy for other endeavours.

I too have known the heartbreak of family members who do not love us as we would have them do so, and expect them to.

Your candour here is quite moving.

Carolyn said...

I found your blog via Belette's and Julianne's, and was touched by this post along with your blog name.

I'm sorry about your mother. My mom is still alive and her favourite perfume was/is L'air du temps (which I mentioned in a post about clearing her house last year http://mysydneyparislife.wordpress.com/2008/11/25/end-of-an-era-54-years-and-4-generations-in-31-days/). I love what Maya Angelou said, and am sure you can have/breathe some of my mother's love, too.

I look forward to further exploring your blog.

Take care and cheers from Sydney (and sometimes Paris)