Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Don't read if you're looking for inspiration

I cracked my eyes open this morning and wanted to close them. Wondered how and why and when. Felt the weight of everything and then some more. Heard the hum of Sophie in her room, the muted cartoon in the living room, the door click shut as The Husband left. Kept my face down in the pillow and said some kind of prayer in my head. Thought of the poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay about spring, a poem that I just read because it's April and April is Poetry Month and it's also the cruelest month, according to Eliot, but Millay tops him with this:

To what purpose, April, do you return again?
Beauty is not enough.
You can no longer quiet me with the redness
Of little leaves opening stickily
I know what I know.
The sun is hot on my neck as I observe
The spikes of the crocus.
The smell of the earth is good.
It is apparent that there is no death
But what does that signify?
Not only under the ground are the brains of men
Eaten by maggots.
Life in itself
Is nothing,
An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.
It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,
Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.

Later, much later, after a blue sky day and army men planted all over the sidewalk, I read a few lines of Father Joe in the bathroom, in the late afternoon and Sophie was in her room and she'd had no seizures all week and I was thinking well, I was thinking, and when I left the bathroom and went to her room, there she lay, her head draped over the toy basket, her arms splayed out and eyes rotated toward the wet that came pooling from her mouth and it was all ready over so I picked her up or dragged her the few steps to her bed and lay down next to her and felt, almost, nothing.


  1. Elizabeth -- I am so sorry! It's unbearable that Sophie and you go through this horror over and over again. I wish there was something I could say or do. This suffering is not right.

    It makes perfect sense that you would be stripped of all feeling. It is too much.

    I send you big hugs. I am glad Sophie has you there beside her.

  2. I can't even think after reading this. My heart is just too broken. There is nothing in this world as awful as that nothingness which too much has covered us with. Nothing.
    Elizabeth, you have had enough sorrow and pain for ten thousand mothers. And yet, your spirit never seems to flag, whether in joy or in gratefulness or in despair.
    I think you have hit a wall and your mind has said, "Enough."
    That's what it sounds like to me.
    Don't fight this- whatever it is. Let your soul rest in nothingness if that's what it needs to do.
    I have read that book and it is a good one to be reading right now.
    I wish you had a Father Joe to go to who would welcome you, make you know your worth on this earth, give you sustenance.
    Sending love...Mary

  3. I often read what you write and think we are living on the same wave of energy. I don't know what to tell you in reply, only that you're not alone in these sad, sad thoughts.

  4. oh geez .... ms. moon is right though about not fighting this .... I think that's why you're writing it down. and "inspiration" is over-rated .... just like a gaudy flamboyant sticky sweet spring time.

  5. You, my dear, have been on an emotional see saw for the last lifetime until now, this past week finding and not finding time for you, and then the up of having the philosophers back, and now your spirit needs a nap.

    We all do. I am wounded too today, because of some stupid remark someone made the other day and I want to be bigger than letting it hurt but it did and it does and it has changed something at a level that makes me puzzled at my reaction. So I am going to take my spirit for a nap. I suspect a long one.

  6. Elizabeth,
    I ache for you. Truly.

  7. I just read this same poem by Edna St. Vee this week. Peace to you, dear friend.

  8. Dear One,

    The beauty of who you are shines in your writing, and I deeply appreciate your sharing with us. Ms. Moon's words "...Let your soul rest in nothingness if that's what it needs to do." seem very wise to me.

    I send you love and compassion and peace.


  9. Oh Elizabeth, I'm so sorry. I think, listen to Ms. Moon.

  10. I send love. Peaceful sleep for you and Sophie tonight, I hope.

  11. Dear one, I am so sorry this happened today. I think I get that poem: "I know what I know." Boy, does that ring a bell here. I love it when people TELL THE TRUTH. It hurts sometimes, but it's much easier to live with than a lie.

    I'd love to call you and have you sing the Marsaillaise when you feel like it...but I don't have your number. Please send it to me by email, and I will send you mine, if you would like that.

    I am sending great love and tenderness to you and to Sophie. XOXO

  12. Ms. Moon has eloquently expressed how I feel for you.
    Here's my "cyberhand" if you need to hold on to it.


  13. I'm very sorry Elizabeth. I'm glad that in this nothing state that the weight of everything lives you, you can still find words with which to write.

  14. Elizabeth, I am sorry you have to go through this. I have to say, if it's any consolation at all, that your powerful writing seems to be a way of coping and making some sense of it all? Your courage shines through your honesty. I think you selected a perfect poem for this post.

  15. Keep writing. That's what will sustain you through all of this.

  16. Wow. You lay it all out with such clarity and simplicity. Where do we find the freedom from such suffering? Sophie is blessed to have you.

  17. I'm so sorry that Sophie had a seizure. I hate them. :(

  18. Ms. Moon said it best.

    Of course.

    Rough stuff my friend.

    Sending my best prayers.

  19. Oh gosh.
    And yet that photo.
    I love that poem, but had forgotten it. It's perfect for this feeling.
    I'm so sorry.
    This tore me up.

  20. This post had the scent of courage. I was inspired because I find it inspiring when a woman has the courage to simply say what is.

    (Like Pilate in Song of Solomon. Love that woman.)



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