February 5, 2015

Tonic

One Tuesday afternoon, a month or so ago, I lay stretched out on my bed, my not-quite-two-year-old son cuddled between my arm and body, reading poetry aloud.

"Before I was sixteen / I was fast / enough to fake / my shadow out," I read.

"The instructor said, / Go home and write / a page tonight. / And let that page come out of you-- / Then, it will be true."

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--"

I placed my lips against the feverish brow of my boy, my fingers running along the length of his arm, reading over the top of my worry. Reading because the sound had soothed him, had taken him away from the limbs of his discomfort. Reading.


[... And speaking of reading, you can read the rest at Mamalode.]

12 comments:

  1. Oh, wow. I wish I'd thought to read poetry to my three when they were feverish, even not. There were always those nursery rhymes.

    You have shared here every mother's worries in a truly creative and poetic way. This is, as always, a beautiful piece, Emily.

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    1. Nursery rhymes: that is where it all started for me, I think. There is a scene in some movie--I can't remember which one right now--where the father and son have a ritual of reading poetry together, that this is what cured the boy's stutter, taught him to write, to think. There's the romantic coming out in me again, but if I give my son anything, I do hope it has something to do with an appreciation for words.

      And thank you, Audrey.

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    1. Thanks for the kind comment, Marshall.

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  3. What a beautiful post. To read the lilting, lyrical lines of poetry, whether your son understands the actual words or not, is to sing a song he will not forget. One he'll learn to crave for the way it soothes and moves him.

    And I hope your boy is feeling better.

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    1. I hope so, Kathleen. I obviously love the little reader he's becoming. And yes: much better. Running around like wild mandrake root in the wind. :)

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  4. I still remember my mother reading to me when I was tiny. The rocker was big, white, and had a burgundy seat. Sometimes, there was a blanket. She would read anything. Reader's Digest. Shakespeare. Knitting instructions. It wasn't the words, it was the ritual: her voice, the rhythm, the being close.

    You're a smart and loving mother.

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    1. I do also, Linda. Right down to the feel of the blanket. As an English teacher, I've read the studies about how moments like these matter, too. So: yes, hopefully smart in this way. It's also simple pleasure.

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  5. You capture the essence of being a parent. Both integrating the beauty of the written word with the hopeful healing of your sweet child is simply wonderful. That you can express these perfectly in a way that any parent would grab and hold on to each word is amazing to me. Thanks so much and here's hoping that your son has fully recovered.

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