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Six Songs for the Unborn.

Six songs for the unborn

The author describes her spiritual orientation as follows: "I am a
Quaker. For me, spirituality is a loving and compassionate attitude
towards life. To cherish the flesh is to know God."

To learn more about the Quaker faith, see Rachel MacNair's article "A
Lively Concern: the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)" in this

"Dream" originally appeared in Harmony. "Conception" originally appeared
in Sisterlife.

1. Dream

We were once as fragile
 as paper lanterns
 twirling slowly

in a closed cradle--
 and our only skill
 was not to know

of our existence.
 Born out of substance
 into metaphor,

we carry the absence of light.
 Why else would the memory
 of paradise elude us,

like the bright green snakes
 that slide into shadows?
 These words will not reclaim

the time
 when every hunger

 had its nipple.

There was once a heaven
 without mother or father,
 without sibling,

 without self.

2. Conception

Rolling through water,
 crushed gently
 by the blue tunnel--
father, mother
the splintered egg
softens, swells

each cell acquiring
the nub of purpose,

each breath
a bubble of flesh.
Long before
the first bones ripen,

before the leap
of synapse
when the brain

admits itself,
this flower
climbed out of the dark

for no reason
but to blossom.

3. Six Weeks

Deep in the thick
red blue
cranberry bog

the fetus
a juicy existence.

Every pore
is open,
sipping a delicious wine.


Discoveries twirl
into mysteries--
walls that caress,

sudden pink petals
in the lake,

of laughter,
from the clouds, then

a strange discipline:
that firm tug
at the navel.


Whatever wish
travels through the cortex
is answered

by physical joy.
But the fetus
wants more than this,
the fetus wants

4. Aborted

You can feel in your soft bones
a nuclear whirlwind

of which you could tell us--
but you are

to exist without
only an open mouth

filled with salt,
your tongue
a fish

angling up
for air,
for sweetness.

The elastic walls
of your room

around the instrument
that swims
through your thigh.

You reach for the hook
with your first shock
of conscious thought.

5. Nine Months

Before the storm,
before the purple clouds
split open, spilling

juice onto the earth,
the sky is heavy
and urgent,

trees hold their leaves
still, animals dig
deeper burrows,

and birds dart
between branches
into their nests.

In that one moment
we call imminence,
when the wind

warns the world
 to take cover
 a miracle:

a pair of butterflies
 pummel the air
 lightly, as if

death could not brush
 even the dust
 from their wings.

6. Birth

I move with Love in my womb

It is not a paradox
It lives and breathes
I can feel its great heart
Beating on my own

Sometimes Love's head
Leans on my forehead
In the air
Between brain and bone

I know it
sits in dark and sees
Light in my hair
I can feel

Its small hands in mine
Even my lips
Can feel the moist
Sound of Love's speech

A dream?

It is no paradox
It lives and breathes
Beneath the fluid hood
Hearing the sun in these woods

On a deep autumn day
Earth gives birth
The swollen grain

I emerge
Dark and bleeding
Of a seedling

JOAN BARANOW has published poems in Feminist Studies, Harmony, The Western Humanities Review, Cream City Review, and elsewhere. A native of Ohio, she lives with her family in Mill Valley, CA.
COPYRIGHT 1998 Feminism and Nonviolence Studies Association, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1998 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Author:Baranow, Joan
Publication:Feminism & Nonviolence Studies
Article Type:Poem
Date:Sep 22, 1998
Previous Article:A Lively Concern: The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).
Next Article:"Our Struggle is for all Life": The Theosophist/Unitarian Feminist Pioneer Matilda Joslyn Gage (1826-1898 CE).

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