Burn Baby

sequoia_forest_fire_california_1995-4767

Burn Baby

The fire that sparked with his birth
Burned for months,
Its flames fanned by his midnight screaming,
Turning the forest of me to ash
And covering me in a shroud of thick smoke.

Those days of smothering heat are blurred,
In my memory,
Punctuated by both of our sobs
And moments of surrender,
That kept us alive.

When the fire burned out and the smoke
Cleared at last,
The bright blue of morning was waiting
Shining sunlight on what remained
And nourishing new life.

The fire took a lot, leaving
Only the oldest trees.
But I know now that it was necessary,
Lovely even,
How that destruction ushered in

Something better.

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17 responses

  1. Fire and rearing a child is really fresh metaphor! Fire is life giving while being destructive at the same time, which you’ve nicely connected to loving a newborn! There’s tons of amazing love mixed with tons of sleepless nights and frustration. Very cool poem! TiV

  2. You definitely had a different take on the experience of new motherhood. Having struggled with postpartum depression, a fiery blaze might have been welcome instead of the dark flood of sadness followed by the even but bland keel of being on medication.

    • It’s strange how people experience the same life events differently. I actually did have postpartum anxiety and depression with my first and I was trying to capture some of that experience here. For me it wasn’t sadness so much as intense anger at the loss of my old life. I’m so sorry you had that experience, but glad you’re open about it.

  3. Beautiful imagery and rhythm. The metaphor you used really worked. It actually made me think somewhat of a Phoenix rising from the ashes, as well as the renewal of the forest that you were actually referring to.

  4. “Turning the forest of me to ash” wonderful choice of words! New motherhood is not for sissies! 🙂 I’m glad the fire burned out a new morning left in its wake.

    • As I said in my reply to cynkingfeeling above – it’s really amazing how we all have such individual experiences, especially of new motherhood. I did suffer from postpartum depression and anxiety with my first and this was a big part of my experience. For me it was all about anger – anger at losing my old life, anger at my inadequacies, and yes, some anger at the baby. Happily, we got through it and he is now an amazing almost-7-year-old. I was lucky not to have any problems after the birth of my second. I’m so sorry you had to suffer, but I’m grateful to women who can share their experiences.

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