Definition

One must make a distinction however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the result is not poetry, nor till the autocrats among us can be “literalists of the imagination”—above insolence and triviality and can present for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them, shall we have it.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Unsung Lullaby


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Hi, my dear fellow toads, this is Susie Clevenger. I would like to introduce you to the collaborative poem of Sherry and I, Unsung Lullaby. When Kerry sent out the request to ask who would be interested in writing a collaborative poem, I was excited and responded with an emphatic yes. I looked forward to the challenge. I was later notified I would be paired with Sherry and what a blessing. I had recently worked with Sherry on an interview, and I knew we would be a good fit.

Sherry asked me if I had any ideas. She suggested I write a poem and she would write a response. I am not quite sure why I started sharing something so personal, but it just seemed to be a door I needed to open. I will not go into detail here, but from reading our poem you will know the sadness that has troubled me. It is pain I haven’t even spoken about with my family. Kerry must have been listening to the spirits when she paired Sherry and I. Sherry’s response was something I needed to help me with such an emotional issue.  I speak my heartfelt thanks to both of these incredible women for giving me an opportunity to share and be given words of healing.

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UNSUNG LULLABY

Tears fall from the unsung lullaby
onto the cradle of my empty arms.

My age would speak of grandchildren,
blue eyes that mirror my daughters’,
the gentle laughter to echo
the sound that bubbles from
the well that is my offspring.

Our family tree stands pruned
of the wonder of my children.
Life’s fate took their unborn
before they could even be conceived.

I wrap in my cloak of unspoken words
to grieve life’s unfairness.
I feel most selfish to weep in my valley
when my beautiful girls have bravely
walked through the valley of their own loss.

Where is my encourager that I might smile?
I cannot stay in my dark pit to succumb to self pity.
My children are the sun of my days.
I must not become their cloud.
  
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Susie, do you hear??
Listen. Listen.
There’s a voice,
singing in the wind.
Hear her with me.
It is Wind Woman,
who is speaking.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



“When the cold North Wind blows
a bitter blast upon
your shivering shoulders,
listen carefully  to her voice.

She has come to take
your keening song
and blow it away
across the mountaintops.

She is making way
for the warm West Wind
to come,
who will softly dry your tears,
and whisper words
of promise.

West Wind will say:

Let your arms
and your heart open wide,
and Life will send you
little voyagers
to love.
The lonely unloved
children of the world
are waiting for
your smile,
your hug,
your heart.

As you travel
on your journey,
keep your lap ready
and your arms
outstretched and open
and, one by one,
through the years,
they will find you.

This, I promise,
will return
the sun
to your sky.
This will give
your lovely daughters
Hope that,
one day,
their empty arms
will fill
with children,
too.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Susie, did you hear her?
I heard her speaking, too.
My friend,
any time your arms,
your dreams,
your heart,
are feeling lonely,
just listen.
Listen to hear
Wind Woman
singing on the wind.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


I was so happy to be paired with Susie. We decided the easiest collaboration for my old brain cells might be for Susie to write a poem, and for me to respond to it. This topic is on Susie's mind these days, and when I received her query, I reflected on how many children the world has brought to my doorstep through the years - so many little wayfarers in need of kindness and comfort. So it was easy to form a reply. Not to deny the pain of the unsung lullaby, but to acknowledge that nature abhors a vacuum and, when there is a heart full of love, the universe sends along people most in need of receiving it.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Susie's work can be found at her site Confessions of a Laundry Goddess.
Sherry writes at Stardreaming with Sherry Blue Sky.



27 comments:

Kerry O'Connor said...

I had no idea what to expect of our Toads in Tandem Collaboration Festival, but this poem as the first to be featured has left me feeling quite humbled by the magnitude of what Susie and Sherry have conceived together. It reaffirms my utmost belief in the Real Toads group as a means to an end, and that end is connecting through poetry.

Susie, I'm a great believer in weeping privately through life's greatest struggles, and then, Sherry, throwing the tears to the wind. The world is wide, and the future unwritten.

Thank you both so much for sharing this personal journey with us through your words.

retriever said...

♥Lovely blog, best regard from belgium
¯`v´¯)
`*.¸.*´
¸.•´¸.•*• ♥ 5 ✬ ✬ ✬ ✬ ✬
(¸.•´

Mary said...

Susie, I hear the depths of your sadness and appreciate the risk you have taken with your openness; and I understand your sadness. I believe that it is the deepest of thoughts shared in poetry that touch chords within us all and connect us and sometimes help us find a way.... I send you a hug.

Sherry, your response was heart felt and from your own life example. You have been one who has had children find their way to your lap; and you indeed have been a blessing in their lives.

Sreeja said...

This will remain in my heart for long..thanks..I visit here to read...

Jenn Jilks said...

Lovely collaboration.
I am a chosen child, my late mother adopted me and a boy. For this I am grateful.
Greetings from Cottage Country!

nene said...

Sherry and Susie, This morning I was feeling an emptiness which was yielding sadness BUT after reading this collaborative piece I have avoided Nature's anger from avoiding that vaccum, you have filled it.

Thankyou to the two of you. You prove the theory that the mind is a Universal synchrony.

Susan said...

It is a privilege to read your call and response, a cry of grandmother, a response from nature who is , of course, a grandmother too with births and deaths through the centuries. Wind may well contain multiple tears. Thank you both.

Margaret said...

Powerful! All women have a mother's heart, a gift to share, love to give... whether they have birthed children or not. So many go to such great lengths and anguish when other avenues are WIDE open for them.

Life isn't always what we plan it to be. I have been humbled by this prayer - it is easy for me to give advice here as I have birthed six beautiful children. But I have seen women close down their very selves due to the inability to birth a child! It seems such a loss to the world when so much compassion and love is needed in a variety of ways.

I thank you for this poem - love the painting and well, just everything.

Lolamouse said...

Susie and Sherry,

I had tears in my eyes while reading this extraordinary call and response poem. I truly believe that the Universe has a way of bringing us together with just the person we need when we need it. Your poem shows what awesome creative endeavors can happen when this synchronicity occurs.

Susie, thank you for your braveness in sharing your personal story. Sherry, thank you for your openness and caring in responding in such a heartfelt way.

The rest of us teams have a high bar set now!

manicddaily said...

Very moving poem. k.

manicddaily said...

PS - makes me think of my own problems = my own and children's--and how one has to accept the random vagaries of life. k.

Marian said...

this actually made me burst into tears from which i have not yet recovered. thank you for sharing, Susie and Sherry, beautiful women, friends.

Mama Zen said...

Ladies, thank you for this. It is a gift.

Helen said...

When poetry comes from a place so deep inside, when we have the courage required to share our pain .. this is what writing is all about. I found these poems truly amazing. And I thank both of you for being there .. for each other, for all of us.

hedgewitch said...

A beautiful collaboration that offers comfort in the face of very hard emotions. Fine job, Susie and Sherry.

Karishma Shetty said...

Heart wrenching! What an amazing piece, Susie and Sherry. Susie... my thoughts continue to linger on your words. So powerful. My heart truly goes out to both of you. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

Ella said...

I have felt this sorrow, once upon a time. What a beautiful touching collaboration! It made me teary eyed and so open to seeing those who are need us, We have to be open to where the wind blows and extend our graces~
Wow, I'm in awe of what you both have done, it is sorrowful, touching and profoundly poetic! :D Thank you both, for sharing a compassion tribute to the human spirit! Susie I hope and pray for this wind to fill your arms~ ((hugs))

Hannah said...

Oh WOW!!

This is such a beautiful meshing of your muses, emotions and compassion!!!Truly a beauty to behold!

Thank you ladies!!

Heaven said...

I read this lovely post this morning but couldn't comment. Just wanted to let you know I had tears after reading the post. What a heartfelt response to a situation many of us can relate to ~

Cheers to you both ~

Karen said...

Heartbreakingly, achingly beautiful in the self-scolding cry and the wind's relief. Susie, while your pain is yours alone, it, too, is ours. Sherry, you are wise and good. These are an amazing collaboration.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Thank you, Susie, for opening the door to such a deep and heartfelt issue, which I know touches every mother's heart with understanding. It was such a privilege to be entrusted with what was in your heart.

Thank you all for your wonderful comments, which are also very touching......Susie led the way, I just rode in on Wind Woman's coattails:)

susanwritesprecise said...

Beautiful. I am speechless.

Susie Clevenger said...

Sherry, my heart wouldn't have been opened about my pain without knowing I could trust you to take it to a place of healing. I truly thank you for your beautiful response.

My life has seen many children come through it, but the pain of not seeing my daughters become mothers has been hard. Especially as I have watched them grieve.

I want to thank each one of you for your beautiful responses. I am truly blessed to be among such beautiful poets and friends.

Herotomost said...

Writing from such a personal place is always difficult and cleansing at the same time. Hard and ohhhh so real subject matter that the both of you handled with depth and character unmatched. Sad, real and beautiful. Haunting write. Great collaboration you two.

De said...

Ladies, this is simply stunning.

de jackson
whimsygizmo.wordpress.com

Mystic_Mom said...

You did something so powerful here, so deeply wise woman. The heart aches and weeps and yet it also celebrates because there is so much love! You two are just wow!

Isadora Gruye said...

susie...you were so brave to collaborate on such a topic, and Sherry, your response was stunning. great start to our toads in tandem endeavor.

viva la