Eve in Bloom

LifeWay back there in birthing bed
alone again she’d weep.
Year after year, new flesh, new bone,
pushed out like temporal teeth.
Ripped from its sockets by the roots,
life gasped and screamed for air,
then quieted down in perfect peace
to rich maternal fare.

Grandmother soil, warm and fertile,
the perfect garden spot.
She was Eve in efflorescence:
Black-eyed Susans, Blazing Stars,
Snow-drops, Spring Beauties,

Ragweed and Clover.
She was Eden, perennially pregnant.

Wildflowers, we speckle the landscape,
earth’s laughter, we nourish and flavor the land.
Spawned one by one in darkened rooms,
loosed as fledglings from cradling hands:
farmers, herders,
builders, teachers,
healers.
Grandchildren,
we explore, we discover,
we dance, we sing,
we think.

Anita Stubbs

Women and Children in Need

living in poverty
Photograph by Steve Liss

When my husband was a little boy, according to court documents, his mother, a widow, left him and his sister in the care of “vicious and immoral people, without proper food or sanitation.”  Due to her neglect, the county removed her youngest two children—my husband and his sister—from the residence and she lost all parental rights.  The older daughter, thirteen-years-old and pregnant, was sent to a state school for girls, where her baby was born and placed for adoption.  An older son, age sixteen, joined the army.  My husband and his sister were ultimately separated from each other.  When he was two and a half and she was five, they were adopted by different families.  They never saw their mother again. Continue reading Women and Children in Need

The Spirit of Poetry

bluebird sings
E. M. Forster, the English novelist, short story writer, and essayist whose work was one of my earliest inspirations, remains one of my favorite English authors. Forster’s creed of life can be summed up in two words, “only connect”, taken from the epigraph to his novel, Howard’s End.

The first of Edward Morris Forster’s work I read was his essay, What I Believe, and his words had a very personal affect on me.  It seemed as though I had met a new friend with whom I shared a “secret understanding” and felt reassured about my own beliefs. Continue reading The Spirit of Poetry

Down Home Sickness

Home sickness image
“He came with her.  Mary said it didn’t matter what anybody thought.”

“Mary’s the daughter?”

“No-o-o-o.  Mary’s the mother.  I can’t remember what the girl’s name is, but she’s the one that lives up north, someplace in New York.  Anyway, that’s where she met that nigger man she married.”

“Mother, please.”

“What?  Why, I have to watch everything I say to you, Lana!” Continue reading Down Home Sickness

Church of My Youth

old church

Church of my youth,
Old teacher, old friend,
our roots so entwined, entangled
deep beneath the sand.
Growing up in the 50’s
was an experience all its own –
Life pulsated with innocence,
and that church was a second home.
We were childhood sweethearts –
the group that I was in,
but the 60’s took us so far away,
we could never come back again.
I wonder though on summer nights,
when moonlight fills those pews,
can shadows from our pasts be seen,
unveiled like hidden truths?
Does “Blessed Assurance” echo still
as that old piano rings?
Do June bugs fly in and out,
while ghostly voices sing?
Can babies be heard crying
above some ancient prayer,
while stifled youthful laughter,
is silenced by a stare.
Anita Stubbs

April’s Fool?

aprils foolJackson, the superstar of Gayle’s hometown, was everyone’s James Dean, Buddy Holly, and Roy Orbison, rolled into one. He drove a ‘57 Chevy painted a shade of plum mist purple the locals had never seen in real time. He introduced drag racing, glamorized lethargy, and intrigued everyone with stories about his friendship with Elvis’ bodyguard. He excited them all, bringing a kind of agitated disturbance slightly out of sync and somewhat intimidating. A distraction from the Dairy Queen routine of their small town existence, he aroused suspicion in all the parents.

Jackson went out to West Texas in May of ‘61 with a seismograph crew that had come through town. He returned in the middle of August, much sooner than anyone expected. His unannounced homecoming, typical Jackson theatrics, did not surprise Gayle, his girlfriend’s sister. No, his unexpected return did not surprise anyone, but the news that he had come back married stunned them all. Continue reading April’s Fool?

When God Was Still A Woman

goddessLong ago in pagan times,
When God was still a woman,
The fertile Earth was cultivated
With a reverence now uncommon.
The abundance of the Goddess Mother
Established harmonious equality.
Life increased with balanced purpose,
Oblivious to male superiority.

Suddenly a flash of light
Sparked a Semitic mind.
A thought envisioned One Manly God,
The Creator of all Mankind.
Divinity revealed masculinity’s prize,
The universal Power of God.
Adam’s myth drew a celestial breath,
Eve’s, God’s afterthought.

The Almighty God and the Earthly Kings
Saw a chance to Capitalize:
The lowly sinner could be redeemed,
If he was mercifully Christianized.
While the Puritan Ethic of honest toil
Fills the coffers of Godly Kings,
The Worker is promised a heavenly home,
If to the cross he clings.

Man knows fear as never before,
Under the hand of Almighty God.
Woman is charged with unknown sins,
As down to Hell they trod.
Once, an archaic thought formed chosen words,
Through the trickery of subtle deceit
And Humanity was eternally duped,
Enslaved by its own conceit.
Anita Stubbs, 1992