Thursday, October 8, 2020

Poetry on Thursday

Ryan celebrated (in a socially distant way) his 30th birthday yesterday. I visited him for his birthday last year, and then returned a few weeks later to help him replace the car that he totaled in a scary accident. But I haven't seen him in person for almost a year, and miss him terribly, just like so many people are missing their loved ones. All of this is to explain the poem I'm sharing this week, another one from Barbara Kingsolver. 

How to Have a Child
Barbara Kingsolver

Begin on the day you decide
you are fit
to carry on.
Begin with a quailing heart
for here you stand
on the fault line.
Begin if you can at the beginning.
Begin with your mother, 
with her grandfather,
the ones before him.
Think of their hands, all of them:
firm on the plow, the cradle,
the rifle butt, the razor strop;
trembling on the telegram,
the cheek of a lover,
the fact of a door.
Everything that can wreck a life
has been done before,
done to you, even. That's all
inside you now.
Half of it you won't think of.
The rest you wouldn't dream of.
Go on. 

Kingsolver, Barbara. "How to Have a Child." How to Fly: In Ten Thousand Easy Lessons, Harper, 2020. 
You can read more about the author here

I wish you mindfulness, peace, a clear heart, the strength to begin and go on, and some poetry as this week winds down.


  1. That's another beautiful poem, she truly captures the level of risk we assume as well as the love we create when we choose to have a child. I'm sorry it's been so long since you could be with Ryan, that has to be so difficult.

  2. Oh my! That's another good one Bonny. Such a nice picture of your two boys as well. I'm sorry it's been so long since you saw Ryan. Here's hoping that can change soon!

  3. With each poem you share, I'm more in awe of her skill as a writer. As Carole noted, she's really captured the overwhelming love and overwhelming fear we take when we become a parent.

    Happy birthday to Ryan. I hope that this time next year, you'll be able to celebrate in person.

  4. I have tears in my eyes, Barbara's words coupled with your words were just perfect. Sending you extra love today my friend. Damn this pandemic... damn it to hell.

    Thank you for sharing, and Happy Birthday Ryan!!

  5. What a beautiful, beautiful poem, Bonny. It really does capture . . . what it feels like to have a child. And to release them into the world. I hope Ryan enjoyed his celebration - distanced as it needed to be. I wish so many of us didn't need to be missing our long-distance children so much these days. My heart aches for all of us. (And Barbara Kingsolver's "How To Fly" was delivered to my doorstep earlier this week. I look forward to diving in.) XO

  6. I know you are so sad not to be able to hug Ryan and spend time with him. But I am confident that your love for each other will sustain you until you can. Hold fast, Bonny, this will end. Beautiful poem, BTW.

  7. Belated birthday wishes to Ryan - and a milestone birthday he'll likely remember forever! The poem is lovely, in the heartbreaking way of being a parent, especially a mom, especially now. Hugs!

  8. Happy birthday to Ryan. May he have a SAFE, happy and healthy new year.

  9. Happy Birthday to Ryan and a geat big hug to his mom. Hard times my friend. xoxo

  10. Happy Birthday to Ryan and to his parents. And a thank you for your wish for a clear heart and strength to begin again. What a wonderful thought.

  11. She puts it all so well! Mary Oliver. Being away from our grown children is so hard. I ache for the front line workers who must be separated from their own children. They are truly giving it all for us.

  12. Happy birthday to your son, may you see him in person sooner than later. These are difficult times and it breaks my heart how everyone is affected by this nasty virus.

  13. Happy Happy to Ryan and wishes for many more...someday soon we'll be back to normal...


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