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What have you tasted?

By Brooke Benton

I remember when my first was born and the foreign utterance that crossed my lips to my dad, while I was still in the hospital with my new baby.

“Now I know what joy is,” I told him. And he said, that’s right, that’s exactly right.

In Darlene’s beautiful poem, in the latest issue of Segullah (out this month) she makes lots of discoveries about motherhood, and the imagery is ripe and gorgeous. She tells of what she has learned, how she has feared and changed. And truly motherhood has changed us all.

How has it changed you?

And when are you going to subscribe to Segullah the journal already?

About Brooke Benton

(Blog Team) is attempting inner om with this writing stuff. Proud to claim four loud children, a patient husband and a fat black cat as family, she feels blessed to be their mommy-- their giver of kisses and baker of cookies. She is ever seeking a good novel and wishing for the sand between her toes, palm trees, the ocean.

7 thoughts on “What have you tasted?”

  1. I am less selfish. I hope I am wiser for the wear. My life is so much more full. I love what Darlene says about savoring. My first baby is leaving at the end of the summer and I hope I have savored enough of him to get me through two long years of separation.

  2. I love this poem and how it blends the dark, terrifying side of motherhood with with the wonder and joy.

    How has motherhood changed me? In every possible way, and sometimes I find myself fighting the changes and clinging to some imagined version of my old self. I'm trying to savor more–savor my children and savor what my life has become with them.

  3. I love this bit:

    …But dizzy with an inward tide,
    the wash and pull between “enough” and “should,”
    I flinch. Constant atonement, motherhood.

    whoa, that was my Sunday. No one would listen to me. I said "shower," they go outside. I say "get dressed," they got back on the computer. I said "eat lunch," they didn't bother.

    Finally I decided I wasn't going to miss church, and pushed everyone toward the car. I threw a church-ish polo shirt on one, he panicked and ran to his room to put on pants so as not to attend in skater shorts. Surprising how quickly another got on her dress, rather than attend in a bathrobe. They sat hungry, the sensitive one crying because I had bellowed and glared. And I sat, frustrated, unhappy with the fix that I had thrown over a bad mothering morning, since it always comes back to my fault I didn't follow up and make them obey, but feeling oddly right about throwing the consequences somewhat back on them. The usually-warring sisters had their arms around each other, Miss Independant comforting Miss Sensitive, and then all the others leaned in for a big ball of sibling love, and I didn't even care if it was somewhat in union against me, or that the youngest hadn't combed her hair. It was nice to be sitting in the chapel during sacrament instead of in the hall. It was nice to realize and tell them it was too bad they didn't pack any pencils to draw with, and that a person can develop patience from being bored. Really, it is difficult, how not to smash on the rocks of either "enough" or "should."

  4. my favorite line:

    "Since you were born, I’ve stood upon a cliff,
    exposed to gales until I’m stony stiff
    with fear, which I disguise as rules or whims
    to keep you safe."

    Motherhood has changed me because I feel and touch and hate my mortality, my utter ineptness against perfection (and yet not progression, my small comfort). Instead of realizing what I 'can' give, I have realized what I cannot. And it kills me. Darlene's comment about motherhood being 'constant atonement' is right on.

  5. I love, love, love this poem. I had some serious motherhood atonement moments today (son discovered and read essay about him on the computer. Son was very, very hurt. How do you deal with writing about stuff that concerns your children? it's something I'd like to process, but not at the expense of his feelings.) But the way he forgave me tasted indeed like joy.

  6. Thanks, Brooke, for the post and thank you, girls, for commenting. I only just saw this and it was just the right time–I was feeling lonely as a poet. It means so much to me that someone, somewhere, reads what I write and thinks about it for a few minutes. Thanks again.

  7. Thank you for nudging me towards this gorgeous poem. And yes, it did inspire me to subscribe to the journal(love Paypal! so easy, so fast!)

    If pregnancy counts, I've been mothering for 17 years now. It is, of course, humbling in a million ways but also empowering. My love changes, forms and encourages these small people– and loving is something I can certainly do.


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