September 25, 2017

Stolen from The Heart

Stolen From the Heart

All my art, is stolen 
from the clutches of my motherhood.
Poems scribbled on napkins, 
and drawings traced on the backs 
of my babies as they stumble 
towards sleep. 
Whatever births, 
had better be quick, 
hot and fast.
No presence residing to revise 
and to intricately labour.
Just the raw pouring forth, 
before I'm enveloped again 
by the detritus of my service.
All my poems are stolen 
from the mouths of my babes.
So excruciating at times 
to feel Her rise,
the Queen of my creativity,
suddenly there in the kitchen
amidst the breakfast dishes,
emerging inexplicably from the dregs 
of my servitude, 
an unexpected grace 
that I barely have room for. 
I scramble for a pen 
and a spare piece of paper 
to offer her.
There's some space on the back 
of a shopping list, 
and a child's dirty crayon. 
I clear a space on the cluttered table, 
and wipe away the toast crumbs 
from the chair, 
I ask her to sit down 
but tell her she'll have to be quick 
because we have to hang out the washing
before dressing the kids.
All my art is squeezed 
through the eye of a needle.
The gravity of the couch 
with the tangled limbs 
of my no longer babies, 
the fierce, sticky love, 
is never quite what you bargained for 
and sometimes it feels as though 
you gave up too much 
for the privilege of peace-keeping
between siblings 
and the trimming of dirty fingernails. 
But other times, 
that same grace descends,
from the blue,
as you watch your boy, 
your shining sun, 
hurtle down the hill towards you, 
golden and grubby 
and you understand that motherhood 
is its own art, 
and the humans grown 
each a rugged masterpiece, 
and all the poems lost, 
for lack of time, 
and all the paintings unrealized 
for arms too full to hold another thing,
but the wood 
and the dishes 
and the washing,
have somehow woven their way 
into the fibers of the future, 
in these wild and wayward beings, 
who love and fight so fiercely 
and with such chaotic abandon. 
I hear threads of thematic resonance
between all the songs I never wrote 
and my 6 year old daughters 
glorious abandon 
to improvised soliloquies.
There is the stolen thrill 
of being let in so close 
to the pristine magnificence 
of a daughter grown,
the exquisite softness of her
in the cusps of my hands.
All my art, 
flows through the great canyon lands 
of my heart, 
carved with the tears and the blood 
and the sweat of my motherhood, 
the great ask of this love 
to make of myself something 
and nothing, all at once.
I am learning to see, 
what my world may deny, 
that all life is an act of art-making,
of love-making, 
and not the least of which, 
is the crafting of a heart 
that can map the terrain of a love 
so mind boggling vast and mundane.
All the tiny acts, 
the minute strokes that build the world, 
that paint a picture, 
that write a poem, 
that tend to the wayward tangles 
in the wild mane 
of our Earth's future custodians, 
each an act of labour, 
each an act of love.
And I wonder how it might be different 
if I were to reframe
my perception.
That rather than being 
the artist I am
despite my children,
I am the artist I am
because of them.
Because all my art, 
including my motherhood, 
is stolen from the heart,
as a prayer 
of love
to the future

Text and image © Lucy Pierce 2017

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