Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Mermaids in Summer

I'm plagued by the feeling that it's never enough -- what I do with Sophie. I'm talking about stimulation and recreational activities. In the absence of Communicamp or anything affordable near us, in these last weeks before school begins again, I am reminded of how pressing the need for young adults to be integrated into the community. I don't have any answers, and when I try to take action, I feel as if I'm in tar, my feet heavy. I do a disservice every single day to this beautiful young woman, and I can only acknowledge that, not judge myself too harshly and hope that I'll feel a bit more energy tomorrow.

A Tiny Clue

You could spend your entire life
eavesdropping on the mermaid
before you'd pick up the tiniest little clue
about where she was really from. One autumn day
    I happened upon
her and her child
while she was comforting it under her shawl.

'You are not the blue-green pup of the seal.
You are not the grey chick of the greater black-backed gull.
You are not the kit of the otter. Nor are you
the calf of the slender hornless cow.'

This was the lullaby she was singing
but she stopped short
immediately she realized
someone else was in the neighborhood.

I had the distinct sense she was embarrassed
I'd overheard her in the first place.
I also came away with the impression
the lullaby was, to put it mildly, redolent of the sea.

Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill
translated from Irish by Paul Muldoon
The Fifty Minute Mermaid


  1. I'm not sure that I can offer any wisdom about your specific woes, I certainly feel frustrated by modern society's lack of community and support, but here's a somewhat tangential two cents: I feel as if anyone living with a modicum of self awareness or regard for life's value is plagued by concern for wasted time, the burdensome shame deep within that whispers we don't do existence justice.

    Wise friends have recently reminded me of the quote "comparison is the thief of joy" and I wonder if it might help you as well. It doesn't just remind me to stop comparing myself to others, or one day to another, but to simply be, that just being is enough, no need to qualify it.

    Time is the best gift one can give and in that way it seems like you shower your daughter in diamonds. Even the most mundane day together can be most precious. You know this, it is just occasionally forgotten, and that is okay. The rest.... well, the rest is the rest. The to-dos and should haves and what ifs are simply dust around the priceless bits. It matters, and it doesn't. And that is often painful to bear, and that is okay too.

    All the best, thank you for the lovely poem :)

  2. "I want my mother!" he shouts.

    But at this climactic moment, his fate is suddenly reversed. The power shovel drops him back in his nest and then his mother returns. The two are united, much to their delight, and the baby bird tells his mother about the adventure he had looking for her.

  3. How beautiful Sophie is, those infinite pools of her eyes. That is a stunning photograph of her, too, it is art. And I wish I could find the words to assure you that Sophie has what she needs most in you, your presence. I suspect it is partly your own restlessness after Hedgebrook, stoking these feelings of guilt. It's okay to be still for a while, to do nothing, to just be. Sophie won't mind. She has you, always.

  4. I agree with Angella about the photo of Sophie being stunning. Her eyes are breathtaking. I hear what you are saying. I find it so hard feeling like I am using my own time wisely and there are a million resources. I can only imagine trying to figure out planning stimulating activities for someone else when few are available. Let me know if I can be of help in any way,

  5. I love when you post poems. Thank you. And redolent- what a word.


    What happens when you show Sophie Signing Time, if you do? Just curious.

  6. What a magnificent photo of Sophie. She truly is a "beautiful young woman".

    I know those "I-should-be-doing-much-more" pangs of guilt. They plague me too; sometimes I try to fend them off with a reminder that C. probably wouldn't even be alive if she weren't living at home under our care.

    But it doesn't always work.



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