Weekend links & poetry

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About Tsh and Sarah

Tsh compiled today's list of links. Today's poem is by our poet-in-residence, Sarah Dunning Park, whose book, What It Is Is Beautiful, contains poems about the complexities of being a mom. Writing this poetry sometimes helps her be a better mother, and sometimes leads her to yell at everyone to let her think in peace. Sarah and her husband, Charlie Park, run PearBudget.com, and attempt to be good parents for their three daughters.

The winner of the giveaway for a print of your family’s purpose statement from Red Letter Words is Heidi W. I’ve already sent an email to you, so please check your inbox! And congratulations—hope this makes your weekend a bit sweeter.

And here is this month’s poem, by Sarah Dunning Park:

Warp and Weft

Somewhere along the line,
your friends dispersed
like seeds scooped from a sack,
a few slipping through fingers
and back in the bag with you —
the rest flying out, pitched to far cities,
to root down in places
other than here.

Here, you inch forward
in a line of cars, wondering if
the other mothers dropping off kids
are like you, or if they would like you —
and pondering the irony
that you are alike at least in this:
each of you has narrowed
the scope of your focus
to encompass only
the most pressing needs
of your family.

But you remember
when you’d woven your living
in with the weft of your friends’ —
not planning social events
in the cracks of packed schedules,
but pooling your leftovers
to share improvised meals.

Most days, now, you improvise alone —
if you don’t mind defining alone
as shadowed by a chattering child
and later you commune with friends
through a cold screen.

You spend your time observing
your child’s likes and dislikes
and which scraps of thought
she chooses to voice;
you try to see these
as seeds of her adult self —
like fiddlehead ferns
with their Fibonacci spirals,
slowly unfurling.

You can picture, down the line,
the fully opened fronds
and how they’ll form a crown of green —
this is how you remind yourself
that in time, and with luck,
she’ll become your dear friend.

But it’s not enough, or it’s too much
that you’ve concentrated on one spot,
like a magnifying glass
clutched in patient suspension,
intensifying the rays of the sun
to the point of combustion.

You must widen your gaze.
Recall the critical importance
of dropping your shoulders
and allowing your chest to rise,
to draw open your lungs,
to permit the intake
of a full breath. And then —
remember your need
for friends to stand beside you
and breathe too.

© Sarah Dunning Park, 2012. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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Comments

  1. avatar
    "Aunt" Barbara Falvey says:

    Loved this poem Sarah and it reminds me that things do not change, even after the kids are grown and you are left with, well, you! So your message is simple — don’t forget to take care of you! That best serves everyone! Loving your book, by the way, that Ben gave me when I visited, knowing that he could get another! love!

  2. Love the poem. It does feel like we are all scattered away from each other sometimes. Connection is so important and such a challeng.

  3. Oh, Sarah. Gorgeous.

  4. So beautiful, Sarah. One of your finest. And, as you know, so appropriate for how I feel. It’s so hard. Thank you for putting words to the ache.

  5. Stunning, Sarah. You take my breath with how you GET this time of life so beautifully.

  6. Sarah! I think about this ALL the time. I was bad at keeping friends even before I had kid(s) but I kind of hate being a lone wolf.

  7. Truly. For me, I feel that it’s hard to keep honest friendships during this time. Sometimes, I’m done with the mom-talk. And it’s hard to find friends that can handle the rest My best, truest friendships are long, and thick, and old, but not so daily. I’m learning to keep good company with myself.

  8. Great poem. I think we all need to remember to enjoy, relax and breath once and awhile.

  9. This is everything I’ve been thinking about lately. Thank you Sarah!

  10. Simply beautiful.

  11. yup. you nailed it. i hope another virginia afternoon is in our near future.

    let us widen our gaze. <3

  12. I’ve been thinking about that crown of fully-opened fronds, today especially. Hoping for it. Thank you Sarah!

  13. Wonderful Sarah! I loved reading this, and also realize how critically important it is to one’s wellbeing to maintain cherished friendships, yet how hard that is to acheive too!

  14. Thanks for the reminder about child-labor and chocolate! I already *knew* this and typically buy ethical chocolate for myself (goes along with my personal preference anyway). But since I haven’t been reminded of this in a while, it hasn’t been on the forefront of my mind for those other occasional instances, like holidays.

  15. Love this poem! Spoke to my heart :)

  16. Love this! Well said.

  17. Sarah, we have enjoyed watching your beautiful little ferns unfurl. They are all such interesting characters thanks to your care and feeding!

    I’m ready to breathe with you anytime. =)

  18. Oh Sarah, this was beautiful to read. Glad to share a cold screen with you, hope it’s a hug we share someday! :)

    P.S. Tsh, thanks for linking to my post. :)

  19. Sarah– Sweet friend, I loved that poem. Beautiful. By the end, I felt myself unconsciously taking a deep breath along with you. Thank you for sharing your words with us.

  20. Oh, thank you.

  21. The most pressing needs of your family.

  22. So please check your inbox! And congratulations—hope this makes your weekend a bit sweeter.

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