Heavenly Mother’s Day: I Dreamed I Wrote Five Poems

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When Martin Pulido and Caroline Kline announced the A Mother Here Art and Poetry Contest, I wished that I was an artist or a poet. I wanted to add my heart stirrings to the collective swell. Instead I sent the call for entries as close and as far as I could, inviting some of the best and dearest creatives I knew to contribute. In response, one mentioned that she looked forward to my poem. Her assumption that I too would be making an offering gave me pause, and then it gave me the courage to try.

The first stanza came while I walked to a friend’s house. I tapped it into my phone’s note function, and typed it up when I returned home. I thought that I was finished. I had my single poem–my single try to say how much Heavenly Mother meant to me. But that night I had one of those rare dreams you remember upon waking. I had written five Heavenly Mother poems, and I was reading them over a pulpit.

I couldn’t remember the words, but wrote four more stanzas in morning’s light. They were first published here.

I.
I searched for my Mother, the way a baby roots
for her mother’s breast, head nuzzling from side to side,
mouth open, ready to suckle. But I was still thirsty.
Then my belly grew, and my breasts grew, and
a ravenous little thing came out. I offer her my milk
without money and without price. My husband
offered it to her once, while I sat beside them on a train.
She pursed her lips against the false nipple,
and stared at me with sad eyes. I wondered then,
if Heavenly Mother walked into another room
so we would take the bottle.
I wondered then, if we are weaned.

II.
The Father could not hear
His daughter’s whimpering,
though He slept beside her
in the same room.
He could not hear her crying,
nor her screaming.
The Mother woke at every sound.

III.
Conch shells.
They are not the ocean;
they are memories of the ocean.
Birds. Trees. Olive oil. Bread. Moons.
They are not the Mother;
they are memories of the Mother.
I hear Her everywhere.

IV.
God’s Spirit, God’s Breath,
the one He could not live without,
gave me breath when I
gave my daughter life.
She sat beside me on the precipice,
so I would not be alone. We exhaled
and inhaled in unison. She whispered,
calling me by name.

V.
I asked my daughter two questions
the day that she was born.
1) Did she remember me-
my voice, my smell,
my beating heart?
2) Did she remember
the one we both call Mother-
Her voice, Her smell, Her heart?
I can’t remember anything.

 

The contest’s other poems and art pieces are worth visiting or revisiting. Some are so tear-inducingly beautiful. Others are so tear-inducingly raw. Others still are funny. Really, really funny.

For my part, I can’t stop writing tiny poems about Heavenly Mother. (Nor do I want to–it is healing beyond measure.) I have over a hundred, and my new (daytime) dream is to publish them in a tiny volume. Perhaps with illustrations on one side. Perhaps for (mostly) myself.

Here is a small peek:

Ears to Hear
She is not silent;
She is quiet.
To hear Her,
you must be
very still.

A Fire is Burning
Sometimes the desire to feel
close to Her is its own warmth.
Sometimes it is enough.

In the Beginning
The world
was created
with a lullaby,
sung lovingly
by the Mother.

First Miracles
The Son’s first miracle was
changing water into wine.
The Mother’s first miracle was
changing water into milk.
She nourishes us all.

What Every Child Wants to Know
What every child wants to know is
if their Mother is watching.
What every child wants to know is,
if they are seen.

Marco Polo
The Mother and I play
Marco Polo.
First I cry, Marco,
and my Mother, Polo.
(I am searching for Her.)
Then She cries, Marco, 
and I, Polo.
(She is reaching for me.)

 

Happy Heavenly Mother’s Day! I can’t wait to see your poems.

Rachel

Rachel is a PhD student in Philosophy of Religion and Theology at Claremont Graduate University. She co-edited _Mormon Feminism: Essential Writings_ with Joanna Brooks and Hannah Wheelwright. She is also a lover of all things books and bikes.

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15 Responses

  1. Anarene Holt Yim says:

    Stunning pieces, Rachel. Many tears here. I wish I could remember Her too.

  2. Melody says:

    Rachel, your words are rich and deep. You have a gift for expressing the longing so many of us feel. Thank you for writing and sharing this beautiful, beautiful poetry. I look forward to your volume of Heavenly Mother Tiny Poems.

    Together, they are an anthem.

    • Rachel says:

      Thank you, beloved Melody. And thank you for being a first reader and editor. Your own writing and striving for the Mother inspire me so much. xo

  3. Liz says:

    “Reaching” is the word that has always described my relationship with Her. I love these and would also love to see them bound into a collection. What a gorgeous book it would be!

  4. allyall says:

    Love. Thank you.

  5. Caroline says:

    Rachel, these are wonderful. Please keep writing these HM poems!

  6. Your contest poem is stunning, Rachel. I’ve responded to it here as part of a reading series I’m doing this month on the poems featured in the A Mother Here contest.

    The small poems are also really great. Have you considered submitting a set for publication in Dialogue or Sunstone? I’m Dialogue’s poetry editor and would be happy to help you usher some of your work into print there. Lob me a line if you’re interested.

  7. Analiesa says:

    Yes, please publish that tiny volume. This is so beautiful, Rachel.

  8. Ally N says:

    Well I try really hard not to cry at work. But #2 just hit me hard.
    Probably because that is what I can relate to the most, the night time crying that only I seem to hear.
    It gives me pause to think that maybe She has/is experiencing the same?

    Not sure why I suddenly feel a longing for another voice, another Mother but I have never felt the pull as strongly as I am right now.

    These are wonderful poems Rachel. Thank you for sharing.
    I have felt the same way lately, not as much about writing about our Mother, but wanting to document my own gutwrenching experiences.

    Hugs.

    AN

  9. Gina says:

    So many powerful emotions. Thank you for sharing these.

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