It is rare thing, but sometimes when lightning strikes, the soul comes alive. I studied creative writing in college and I made a submission that was supposed to be about a challenge. I searched and searched for words. I finally came up with the words to the poem listed below called Stillborn. It is about my baby Grace. I cried and cried when I wrote it. I was nervous to give it to my professor because it was such a tender topic. Her reaction really surprised me. I asked her what she thought of it. She thought for a moment and said that it was not unlike something anyone else would say about the topic. I was shocked. She had this way of only liking certain people’s poems. She went on and on about a poem a girl wrote about her own breast and another one that wrote about her psychotherapy. I just did not understand what she wanted from me as a writer. That poem about my daughter was real stuff. It was hard as hell to write. I could not get her words out of my head. It became an obsessed thought for me. I sat up late at night thinking about it. One night, I just sat and dumped my thoughts on what she said and I ended up writing another poem. It too is listed below. You can read both and you can decide for yourself which one is better or worse. But, for me her words ended up being true. I really felt better after I wrote the second one. The first one was really what I thought others wanted to hear me say. It did not get to the root of my gut feeling on the matter. She had to make me mad for me to realize that I was mad because she died and it was not okay. I never showed her the poem. It was not the point in writing it. However, I did show up at the group poetry reading that is held at the end of every semester and read them both out loud to everyone. It was soul cleansing to get to put the intensity of my own voice into the poem when it was heard for the first time. To me, I needed both of them to complete the journey in finding the right words to say. I will always have more words about the topic, but these will always be my first written, creative expressions on the darkest days of my soul.
Ominous Death calling from his abyss,
prevailing in an unperceived battle,
his will stronger than mine.
Life and Breath lost forever.
Embraced only by my womb.
Soothed solely by my heartbeat.
No funeral is required.
One breath would have required one.
We followed through eight and a half months.
Long months spent dreaming
of all that your life could be.
Images of smiles and laughter now echo loss.
Sweet, silenced breath still missing from my cheek.
Purest skin of new-sprung birth,
never to be caressed.
The ground may embrace your body,
heaven may have your soul, but
I alone hold the key to your spirit
tightly woven in my heart
and flowing through my veins
like the pulsating liquid of the umbilical cord
that made you one with me for eternity.
Breached and Breathless
Purging the Recesses of My Soul
Let me tell you what it was like
to have death ripped from my body
where life was supposed to be.
Let me inform you that it is not pink roses
and everything will work out
or it’s all for the best!
How can it be best for my baby
to die in the very place
that is created to give life?
My pain so black that it covers my soul
like soot inside a chimney,
with a memory too stained to be
remembered as anything but
ANGER! ANGER! ANGER!
This day I am supposed to be
smiling the smiles of pink skin,
ten fingers, and tiny toes,
instead my heart is as still
as the raven heart of the doctor
that is death.
My heart is anesthetized this day
that my baby is to be lowered
into the cold night blanket of earth,
in a season where summer falls into death.
The browning season.
Brown dirt covers the white coffin
of complete innocence.
My heart is bleeding tears.
My arms are heavy with invisible pain.
My brain screams the only words
that bring me peace,
I WILL GO ON!
I WILL OVERCOME!
I WILL FILL MY ARMS!
written by: Abigail D. Engel