I see you working hard for me
And wonder what it means:
Whether I will do the same
And give up my own dreams
To offer someone else my world,
A stranger from my womb,
And say: Here, take my life,
So you, not I, can bloom.
I often wonder at the depth
Of that cool sacrifice;
I know it can’t be “just because,”
Or simply to be nice.
It is so awesome, I can’t think
How I could make that choice,
Except I see something in you
That gives my own heart voice.
I see sometimes a happiness
Amid the stressed-out day
That no one else can hope to know
In any other way.
I feel it when you look at me
And understand sometimes
That things I do, I do for two,
And then your hard life shines.
And when I give you grief, I know
That all the bitter pain
Between a mom and growing child
Is simply like the rain
That alternates with sunny days,
Passion without end,
While underneath is more of life
Than we can comprehend.
And then I know, perhaps, why I
Like you might be so moved
To give my life to someone else,
And know that I have loved.
I’ve lived a life of fantasy and terror,
Plunging now and then headlong towards death.
I cannot think what agony it must be
To see your child burn in such a hell.
I’ve fought your love with all the madness in me,
Screaming at my stubborn love for you,
The one thing in my heart that will not let me
Toss my tortured soul into the sea.
I do not know what pain your love has cost you,
Or with what courage you have seen me through.
I only know I love you so much for it
That life becomes too beautiful to hold.
I’m sorry I can’t tell you what
I’m sure you’d rather hear,
But there’s a burden in my heart
I can no longer bear.
There’s an anger I must cross
Before I come to you
And make my peace with who you are,
And try your soul anew.
I know I wasn’t what you wanted
When you wanted me,
A healthy, happy baby girl
You could raise easily.
I was born impaired, and you
Have never understood
That what I am is whole and fair
And beautiful and good.
You were sorry, first for me
And then for you, and wept,
But I would not be me without
The fact that I am deaf.
I am a gift to celebrate
And not a cause to grieve.
As a child this was what
I needed to believe.
I needed but a different road
To reach the common goal,
But you decided there were things
I couldn’t do at all.
And rather than accept what life
Had given in its grace,
You looked at what life had withheld
And turned from its embrace.
Ah, Mother! How you injured me
By what you would not own!
To love myself I had to leave
And make my way alone,
And have my children in the course
Of what I would become,
But always, always looking back
To where I had no home.
I want to say how proud I am of you
That you have broken free of your addiction.
It’s something I don’t know that I could do
Were I so sorely tried by your affliction.
My years of growing up were on my own,
As you were in the belly of your beast,
The two of us indifferent and alone,
Most in need of love while loving least.
How sad! That you and I have lost those years:
I, of childhood, and you, of your only child.
But now’s the time for joy and not for tears,
For you are well, and we are reconciled.
Whatever life may bring or time may prove,
Know that you will always have my love.
I wait upon the love that waits for me
Unknowing as I grow within the womb,
The creature of an unheard harmony
Between the voices of my dawn and doom.
Half of me is you: how strange! Yet more
Uncanny is the fact that we are two.
I live within a room whose only door
For good or ill must open onto you.
Be there for me, father*, in your heart,
As I for you will be the child you will.
Play with all your love the father’s* part,
And I will with my love your dreams fulfill.
I will rebel, of course, but pay no mind:
Years of love will stand against the wind.
*(For a mother, change to “mother” and “mother’s.”)
I thought I knew a thing or two of beauty:
I’ve known your love since I was hours old.
But now I bear myself the awesome duty
That love turns into joy, and joy to gold.
How precious to experience your pleasure!
To be on both sides of the deep-felt glance;
To know so well the moment’s gift full measure;
To be both lead and partner in that dance.
No child can be but grateful for her children
When loved so well as to know well to love.
No mother can but hope her prudent passion
Will move a heart to move as her heart moved.
The love you felt for me I now can feel,
Which makes it not more lovely but more real.
Make for me a place within your heart
On which I can depend. For only you
Touch the ancient wellsprings of my tears,
Home through all the wanderings of my years,
Eden that no other can renew,
Root I cannot rend through rage or art.
M is for the miracle of Being.
O is for its origin in love.
T is for the tenderness of seeing.
H is for a home no wind can move.
E is for the ecstasy of living.
R is for the recklessness of giving.