A Poet's Eyes


Happy Mother's Day, everyone. At my church, we celebrate all women on Mother's Day--aunts, grandmothers, daughters, wives, partners, sisters, friends, women who've chosen not to have children or who long for them. Certainly motherhood is a singular, heart-rending experience. But I'm most interested in celebrating the Mothering that all of us are capable of, the nurturing force that might save this planet. You can access that no matter who you are.

Wyatt's been writing poetry at school lately, and getting really into it. I thought he might be embarrassed to talk about it or recite poems to me, but he just beams with pride. He doesn't know yet about that false modesty %*# that sets in later. He and I had some rare time alone today, walking down to the park for Isaac's birthday party. We were talking about poetry, and I asked him how he comes up with his great poems.  He said, "Ms. Kaneko tells us to look at things through a poet's eyes. That means that, if I was looking at this basketball hoop here, I'd try to think about what else it might look like or what else it might mean."

Can you see why I needed to write about this tonight? I just looked at him--his big front teeth, too-short pants, and Pokemon cards falling out of his pockets--and marveled. How did this intricate, amazing child come to be mine?

I love what Wyatt said about a poet's eyes. One of my rules for living, posted on my bathroom mirror, is "See my world (and messy house) through eyes of love." In other words, look at the basketball hoop and think about what else it might be trying to tell me. Notice the bent rim, the nylon net, all the children scuffling beneath it. See things both for what they are and for what they could be, and love them. I'm not prone to deifying motherhood, or even idealizing it. And there are lots of other ways to get in touch with life (and be brought low!) besides motherhood. But it's saved me from myself. It's saved me from walking past the basketball hoop without even noticing it. It's given me a poet's eyes.


Here's one of Wyatt's poems, so sweetly appropriate for Mother's Day. He knows I'm putting it on here and didn't protest. Whether you rock your baby to sleep tonight or you're longing for someone to rock you to sleep, may you blessed with peace, abundance, and yes--a poet's eyes.

Trees (by 7 yr. old Wyatt)

Swaying back,
and forth,
like a mom,
rocking her baby.
the wind,
dies down,
and the baby falls asleep.