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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Sad Mother

(Orange Maternity, lithograph
by Marc Chagall, 1887-1985,
Russian-French artist)

“To be a mother, to feel maternally, means to turn especially to the helpless, to incline lovingly and helpfully to every small and weak thing upon the earth. . . . Therefore the principle of motherhood is a dual one; it attaches itself not only to the birth of the child, but to the fostering and protecting of that which has been born. To become a mother physically means but the first breaking forth of the powers of maternity; it is only the first moving symbol of something that is much more universal. . . . Not alone is the child born through the mother, but the mother also is born through the child. . . . The child that at its birth breaks through its mother’s womb breaks through her heart also, opening it to all that is small and weak.” ~ Gertrud von le Fort (1876-1971), German writer and poet, from The Eternal Woman


Sleep, sleep, my beloved,
without worry, without fear,
although my soul does not sleep,
although I do not rest.

Sleep, sleep, and in the night
may your whispers be softer
than a leaf of grass,
or the silken fleece of lambs.

May my flesh slumber in you,
my worry, my trembling.
In you, may my eyes close
and my heart sleep.

~ Gabriela Mistral (1889-1957), Chilean poet, diplomat, and teacher, and winner of the 1945 Nobel Prize in Literature

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