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Wednesday, February 2, 2011


(Mother and Baby by Ruth Orkin, 1921-1985,
American photographer)

Life is often compared to a journey.

The Roman poet Lucretius (99?-55? B.C.) writes of the new-born babe as “a sailor cast up by the sea, / Lying naked on the shore, unable to speak, / Helpless, when it comes to the light of day.”

And René Graziani’s wonderful collection of poems on birth and birthdays is entitled
The Naked Astronaut, “that nine-month traveler into time, attached by the umbilicus to its mother and her life-support system.”


I am the ship in which you sail,
little dancing bones,
your passage between the dream
and the waking dream,
your sieve, your pea-green boat.
I’ll pay whatever toll your ferry needs.
And you, whose history’s already charted
in a rope of cells, be tender to
those other unnamed vessels
who will surprise you one day,
tug-tugging, irresistible,
and float you out beyond your depth,
where you’ll look down, puzzled, amazed.

~ Maura Dooley, born 1957, English poet

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