"The clock is stuck on pain," writes author Toi Derricotte, in her moving, painful, yet vivid poem about a woman who, sixteen years after this utterance, bares her soul about the circumstances surrounding the birth of her son. Derricotte grew up at a time when illegitimate pregnancies were shunned and families often faked the dates of marriage to hide the truth from others and their children. "It was as if my body had betrayed me, became evidence against me. My flesh and bones pressed out showing what I so wanted to hide ..."
Her poetry has a powerful rhythm that seeps into your pores and settles just beneath the skin like unseen pins incessantly pricking the skin until the dance is done. Derricotte leads you from the acceptance of an unplanned pregnancy through the various emotions and revelations she experiences as she approaches the moment of truth that is childbirth. "Pain is as common as flies. If you don't see it walking on your lip, if you can't breathe it, don't feel it for yourself, you walk in darkness."
Natural Birth is a triumph of one woman's spirit that will appeal to readers who are looking for depth, emotion, originality and truth. It is arranged in short chapters that flow into each other without pause. The rhythm, style and honesty make the book hard to put down until the journey is complete. Derricotte has completed a moving testament to teenage mothers, and mothers everywhere, who survive the miracle of birth. It is also a special gift to their children who grow stronger for understanding the very human fears and pains of the women who brought them here.
Eileen Robinson is a freelance writer and editor in New York City.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Publication:||Black Issues Book Review|
|Article Type:||Book Review|
|Date:||Sep 1, 2000|
|Previous Article:||poetic license.|
|Next Article:||Night When Moon Follows.|