Way 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.
we explore, we discover,
we dance, we sing,
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
Alex Haley’s book, Roots, first sparked my interest in the study of family history. It fostered an acute awareness in me of the strength, the pure willpower of each of our fore-bearers, to survive. The legacy we all share, regardless of our biological beginnings, is that we are all descendants of survivors—generation after generation of survivors. That book gave me a better understanding of the miracle that each one—in his or her own place and time—survived at least long enough to produce what would become us! You know, that is an astounding thing when you think about it. Continue reading Roots, Trees, Facts, and Fiction
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
My greatest challenge in writing the Velvet Bridge was to tell the tale in such a way to expose the flaws in my protagonist, Mattie Featherstone, and not leave the reader disliking her. Even though the behavior and life decisions Mattie makes in the beginning are below the standard of acceptable behavior and decency, particularly for a mother, my job is to make sure the reader loves her anyway. Continue reading Reflections of Real Life in Fiction
What a difference almost a decade makes! Going through my files, I found the following written, as you can see, in 2008. I was asking then what I had to show for my sixty-five years of life. And here I am approaching my 75th year way faster than I ever thought I would! Still, I am wondering, what do I have to show for my life! Well, reading through this, I am even more grateful now than I was then! I’ll save the why of that til the end.
Here we are in the year 2008, the year I turn sixty-five. I have already received my Medicare card. It seems impossible that my life has come to this point so quickly. Where did all the years go, and what have I to show for them? That is the question on my mind, and a worthy one for pondering.
While poking around old memory chambers,
Revisiting my childhood years,
I was surprised, not by ghosts from the past,
But by locks on so many doors.
Did you ever have a birthday cake?
With candles for making a wish?
Did they all gather ’round with the birthday song,
and watch you open your gifts?
Did someone sing you to sleep at night,
After gently tucking you in?
Can you recall being told you were loved,
Then saying it back to them?
Did the tooth fairy come as you slept?
Did you ever see a clown?
Did you believe in the Easter Bunny,
Or go to the circus in town?
Did your family all laugh together?
Did you sit on your daddy’s lap?
Did your mother read you stories,
Before your afternoon nap?
Oh, you must have had lots of parties.
No telling the times your family ate out!
I’ve just been wondering, for comparison’s sake,
About the kind of childhood you had. Anita Stubbs