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.





Comments

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

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