Sunday, March 14, 2010

Mothers' Day

I struggled to lift my head off the pillow this morning. I just wanted to stay cocooned in bed all day and get up tomorrow morning like Mothers' Day had never happened. It's taking all of my willpower to function today, to hold myself together, but what I really long to do - to lie in a dark room, barely functioning apart from displacing air - doesn't meet the criteria of good daughter or daughter-in-law. I need to phone my mother and I need to organise lunch and a card and flowers for my mother-in-law, so I need to make myself function at a higher level than feels possible. I also need to make sure that I don't let them see how much I'm hurting right now, how devastated I am not to be getting the card and flowers myself, because it's hardly a good Mothers' Day present for them to see my pain on the day when they are the ones who should be being cherished.

If I hadn't lost it my baby would have reached full term this week. This has already been weighing me down with sorrow, but Mother's Day on top of that seems a cruel twist of fate's knife in my belly. Last weekend I saw my entire family and I tried to enjoy it, but the huge gulf between what I had and what I should have screamed too loudly for me to ignore and I felt set apart from them, like I was watching them all from the outside. That's when the pain started, the physical pain of feeling so much dread and sorrow at the same time, like two fierce creatures circling and fighting inside me, which has grown steadily this week so much so that the last few days I've often been found clutching my stomach for fear of losing control completely, fearing that the swelling emptiness would spill out, leaving me in pieces on the floor.

I've wanted to write about these growing feelings for a while, but I just can't connect to that deep inner place where the poetry lives. Staying in the shallows, with the occasional light-hearted poem, seems to be the only way to survive at the moment, without drowning and becoming lost forever. So I've lost my muse, or at least I've put her to sleep for a while, and I feel like I've lost some of myself too.

As for Mothers' Day, it's nearly over and I can congratulate myself that I didn't fall apart, and maybe things will be just that little bit easier now I know I've been able to survive this.


Monday, March 1, 2010

Wish I could pray

So I'm guilty of being one of those people who turns up to gigs on the strength of one song. The only song I knew of Ralph McTell's was "Streets of London" . It's very famous and has apparently sold the most copies of any sheet music. I think I got the tickets bought for me as a bit of a joke really, I'd played in an orchestra in the same bill as Mr McTell, which also played on local radio. My claim to fame!

So we were the roudy ones at the back of a sedate seated gig, clamouring for the only hit we knew, probably getting "tsked" by the other people there. But this only lasted for a short while and then we were amazing by the abilities of the man, and his warmth and his humility. It was just him and his guitar and piano: no warm-up act and no gimmicks. He told many stories of his amazing life learning the guitar and his songs reflected his life experiences.

One in particular spoke to the heart of me, as it's something which I'd been feeling myself and it seemed to encapsulate the feelings in a much calmer way than they had been brewing inside me. I'm disappointed that I can't find a recording of it anywhere to include, but here are the words:


When I was a child I thought as a child,
We sang hymns at the close of the day,
But now I'm a man I think like a man,
But sometimes I wish I could pray.

Just to thank someone when the danger is past,
When returned to your family and friends,
Or for comfort when you are tired and you're scared,
Or got problems that seem will not end.

Sometimes I wish I could pray,
Sometimes I wish I could pray,
Most of the time I'm doing ok,
But there are sometimes I wish I could pray.

Just to thank someone for the stars and the sun,
For the cry of a baby at birth,
To believe there's a home way up in the sky,
When our journey is done on this earth.

To believe everything has been planned in advance,
By one who keeps watch and is pleased,
Or to lift up your eyes and to thank someone,
When you're humbled and brought to your knees.

Here's one which you might recognise (the theme tune to Billy Connolly's tour of Australia):