Posts tagged as:

baby

Unlike most of the rest of the time, when it comes to earthquakes and being in them I have left little desire to make windows into [wo]men’s souls. We were neither killed nor injured, nor was our home destroyed or damaged, nor did our animals run away, nor did our amenities fail. The massive ground accelerations of which you have heard in the city and the eastern suburbs were no more than a tenth of that size at Ilam, where I was at work at the university. A colleague and I clung to two facing doorways, and I thought as our eyes locked of that zoom shot at the end of Bonnie and Clyde, when the gaze of Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty similarly meets, in their case, for the last time.

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The Bells

12 February, 2011

in in Aotearoa,we are family

My father came to Christchurch in the middle 1960s from his home province of Southland, cheerful and friendly but with a lack of social power and mobility that was the general lot of young, single people in this country at that time. As was also the convention of the time, he was befriended by a handful of older colleagues and acquaintances who took an interest in him and made it their business to see that he was getting out and about and not spending too much time alone. One of these was a work colleague whose expression of interest in learning bellringing at the Cathedral, where she went to church, had been declined due to her being a woman. In a forthright manner befitting her heritage and education as an Old Cantabrian, she suggested my father take up the hobby in her stead.

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The first days of acquiring the practical knowledge of maternity were very much akin to drawing out Leviathan with an hook, a process that felt all the more surreal by the fact of having been delivered of a non-metaphorical Leviathan so very recently, whose nearby tininess belied the effort. Everywhere were signs: signs that displayed policy, signs that explained how policy is to be implemented, health-promotional signs that gave instructions that reflect the policy. All of this to keep the baby floating above that netherland known as Failure to Thrive, whose abyss we sensed beneath the bilibed and whose name was never spoken.

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You are All My Base and belong to me

Little gives as much pleasure as watching my daughter realise her intentions: look at the object, reach for the object, put the object in the mouth.  Her language-world is mostly sensate: primarily taste and oral sensation, but also texture to the touch. What she sees seems to function mostly as spectacle, as witnessed when she shook with giggles at the sight of each of the dogs eating their dinner.  To “hi!” and “hello!” she can respond in kind, sometimes with the H and sometimes without.  Consonants are less important in her world than long flat vowels.

There are other vocabularies too, and they accord, in some ways coincidentally, with those of her parents. The unserious epithet, Boob Lady, by which I at home go, has been tethered recently by her own name for me: a fixed-gaze to make sure I am looking, then, almost imperceptibly, a quick movement of the tongue that, latched, would bring about the start of a feed.  This is not the reductive expression I might once have thought it would be, since there is no-one else, after all, who provides for her that thing, and I know the whole of what I went through to be able to do it.

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A new poem at Bat, Bean Beam.

I would hope
that she would talk of me,
however sad she was,
incessantly

making up
new stories for the tree,
however bare the branches.
Constantly,

the shadow of our mothers
and others, yet to be,
still drives our cells’ division,
silently.

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