New Motherhood, Once Again
A document of gratitude and love
The hood goes up; I’m a mother, again.
And it’s not just me whose role changes:
My mother’s a new grandma,
My daughter is now a sister,
My sister is an auntie anew.
My brother – an uncle,
My father a grandpa,
My husband’s a new father, too.
Life shifts and twists; I’m a mother, again.
And it reminds me of all that I have:
A mother who nurtures,
A daughter with such tenderness,
A sister who’s like my backbone.
A brother enamoured,
A father who dotes,
A husband who puts my needs before his own.
As I sit and reflect on being a mother, again.
I’m so grateful for all that I have:
A mother who is generous,
A daughter full of laughter,
A sister who will always give me time.
A brother cracking jokes,
A father eager and willing,
A husband whose ideals reflect mine.
Because becoming a mother; a mother, again –
Makes me feel somewhat vulnerable and in need:
Of my mother’s love,
Of my daughter’s forgiveness,
Of my sister protecting me.
Of my brother’s companionship,
Of my father’s rational thoughts,
Of my husband – with whom I’m safe and yet free.
by Annie Ridout ©
For anyone who has fallen in love in London – skipped through Covent Garden’s cobbled streets, run across Waterloo Bridge hand-in-hand, spent evenings getting drunk on wine in the candlelit basement of Gordon’s Wine Bar – this may resonate.
AFTER THE LUNCH
On Waterloo Bridge where we said our goodbyes,
the weather conditions bring tears to my eyes.
I wipe them away with a black woolly glove
And try not to notice I’ve fallen in love.
On Waterloo Bridge I am trying to think:
This is nothing. you’re high on the charm and the drink.
But the juke-box inside me is playing a song
That says something different. And when was it wrong?
On Waterloo Bridge with the wind in my hair
I am tempted to skip. You’re a fool. I don’t care.
The head does its best but the heart is the boss.
I admit it before I am halfway across.
I was bathing under the Sicilian sky
when a white feather floated down and caught my eye.
“It’s an omen!” I exclaimed, and from then on I knew
that the following month I’d be carrying you.
Reproduction is science and we know how it works –
but there’s an element of mystery too.
And so even those who’d normally damn the spiritual world
might suddenly notice ‘signs’ coming through.
When we try to nurture nature – to make it go our way –
we realise the magnanimity of this quest.
Because the earth; its energy and our chemistry
will be manipulated by neither wit nor zest.
Both fans of superstition and the non-believing mass
can grow anxious and so open their eyes wide
to any indication of things going their way –
appearing as cryptic symbols; in disguise.
So your conception was marked by a fluffy falling feather
and now I’m desperate to see your face and to hear your baby blether.
That’s why I took great solace in the petal that just fell
from a bunch of pure white roses – it’s a sign, I can tell.
I am the needle, with you as my thread;
separate beings but where I go, you’re led.
In those early days, when you were curled up small,
i’d wrap you up in blankets, or muslin to keep you cool.
You were complex and compact, like tightly wound yarn,
and each cry required fixing, so I learned to darn.
We were bonded – and bonding – every waking hour;
you’d wail for my body when I was in the shower
and you’d yearn for my milk as I closed my eyes to sleep
but when nestled near my breast, I wouldn’t hear a peep.
You could say we’re in a bubble – but it’s more a ball of wool
that will slowly be unravelled: you’re the thread and I’m your spool.
I will guide you like a needle, keep you grounded like a bobbin,
let you run, explore, be free –
but keep you safe and bound to me.
by Annie Ridout
‘Does’ and ‘will’ become
‘did’ and ‘would’,
sentences begin with
‘could’ and ‘should’.
‘I’m sorry’ has never carried
so much weight,
some words lose meaning like:
‘karma’ and ‘fate’.
We talk of ‘loss’
and ‘gone’ and ‘grief’
but words can’t convey
when a mother; a sister;
a daughter; a friend
is preparing for beginnings
and is faced with an end.
Now we talk of ‘memories’
and moments we shared
and find warmth in the knowledge
that so many cared
for a woman whose essence
can’t be captured with words,
as she rises above them
like a flock of birds
and her flight is powered
by a radiant soul,
which lights up the earth
from pole to pole.
But now back to words,
as there are two more to list:
they are ‘love’, which won’t fade,
and the fact she’ll be ‘missed’.
Rather than ‘the end’,
we can say she lives on
in her beautiful son
– so she’ll never be gone.
I’ve got a bone to pick with Euripides
because I think he was down on the ladies
writing that part for Medea –
when it should have been written for Hades.
You see the latter was King of the Underworld:
lived in darkness and ruled the dead,
so he might have had the capacity
to cut off a child’s head.
But a woman was implicated this time
and d’you know why the story was thus?
because Medea outwitted the men folk
and Euripides took this as a cuss.
So we hear that she’s riddled with jealousy
and must spurn her husband fully
by killing his new wife and father-in-law
and then their kids too: what a bully.
But the truth is: Medea didn’t do it!
It was the Corinthians spurring Hades instead.
And yet misogynistic Euripides
said Medea left them for dead.
I think she was down at the library,
reading up on something worthwhile
to distract her from thoughts of her ex
who was long-gone and whom she reviled.
And meanwhile the evil God Hades,
swooped in to Corinthian cheer
and heroically beheaded two children
without even shedding a tear.
When Medea heard the commotion –
and saw Hades killing her boys –
her cries pierced the murderous air,
yet to him, it was just white noise.
See men might kill for a kingdom
but ladies are cunning and shrewd
and to get their own way, or seek revenge,
they use their tongues – not their fists, like dudes.
So Euripides, get with the picture!
And get over your issue with ladies –
your play’s fraught with misinformation
now let’s stick to the truth: it was Hades.
By Annie Ridout
I wrote three haikus for World Poetry Day.
daffodils in bloom –
and yet dark clouds overhead
(because you’re not here)
That sky, so vast, it
I’m yet to explore
Dew-dripping grass is
a gentle reminder of
how you made me feel
by Patti Smith
I am calling
your naked neck
I am with you
to thy great
I am yours