Friday, May 6, 2011

In Celebration of Usefulness



All three of our sons have had birthdays in the past three months.  Another year older, another year gone.  


While road-tripping over spring vacation, my husband and I were sharing laughs over those years now gone with our littler  - now - bigger ones.   I reached for this beautiful book and opened to the entries by my all-time favorite poet, Sharon Olds.  She spoke to my earnest collegiate heart in Contemporary Lit class and still resonates with me today.  


As I began to read this poem aloud to my  husband, tears welled and my voice cracked over the simple words that somehow evoked the sense of joy-loss each birthday brings.  I hope you find it as moving as I did.

Socks
Sharon Olds


I'll play Ninja Death with you
tonight, if you buy new socks, I say
to our son.  After supper he holds out his foot,
the sock with a hole for its heel, I whisk it
into the wastebasket.  He is tired, allergic,
his hands full of Ninja Death leaflets,
I take a sock from the bag, heft his
Achilles tendon in my palm and pull the
cotton over the arch and instep,
I have not done this for years, I feel
intensely happy, drawing the sock
up the calf --Other foot--
as if we are back in the days of my great 
usefulness.  We cast the dice 
for how we will fight, I swing my mace,
he ducks, parries with his chain, I'm dazed, then
stunned.  Day after day, year after 
year I dressed our little beloveds
as if it were a life's work,
stretching the necks of the shirts to get them
over their heads, guarding the nape as I
swooped them on their back to slide overalls on---
back through the toddler clothes to the one-year
clothes to those gauzy infant-suits that un-
snapped along the seam to lie
fully open, like the body first offered to the
soul to clothe it, the mother given to the child.






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1 comment:

  1. Moving words, Misty...both yours and those in the poem. Hope the day was wonderful! Such cute pics, too. H2U!

    ReplyDelete

~Grace and peace to you~

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