Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Growing In A Place All Wrong

(I had no intention of either reading or writing to this prompt inviting one to share their "worst moment"–  However, after bearing witness and reading of the pain of others  I found I could not simply turn away) ...

Growing in a place all wrong
Newly back from those
frangipangi islands
where ugliness melted
in rainbow colors, clear
water and hot air wrapped
like an ever embrace
Newly back to the chill
the cold, the clatter of
gray steel and ugliness
undistracted, unexpected
an already burgeoning
second trimester sown
in perfumed paradise
secretly flowering
a bouquet under my
heart sparkling glints
of sunlight warming
cold steel promising
I smiled for forty eight
hours, put up a huge
pot of stew, painted the
kitchen yellow of those
happy faces and decided
with paint still wet on my
hands, that it could be good
That was when the first pain came
powerful as a crimson tsunami
That was not the worse part
Sitting on the toilet a towel
covering bloody thighs waiting
for a ride explaining to a dimple faced
three year old that “No he wasn’t going to
be a big brother” wasn’t the worst part
Even at hospital under clean sheets
washed and fresh and given hope that it
might all be a mistake, to be told in the morning
it wasn’t a mistake at all
was not the worst part
Through all of that there was comfort
soft as a carribean breeze, that everything
was for a reason, and four and a half months
does not mean life, embraced by the certainty
that some things are just not meant to be.
The worst part arrived in a moment
of waking in a frigid alcohol fumed room
hearing a well intentioned doctor with a
swinging delicate golden catching-light cross
smile a soft smile and sweetly say,
“your baby was perfect”
“just in the wrong place”
and slip me back into unconsciousness
into the black icy emptiness
a forever frozen involuntary
matricidal accomplice
of my “perfect baby” 
growing in a place all wrong

On poeming the painfully personal: reflections on this prompt


  1. Horrific experience. So tragically sad.

  2. Thanks Patricia - it was the well-intentioned comment that left a wound that took a loooong time to heal but also left behind a carefulness about what to say in an attempt to ease another's pain - sometimes much less is ever so much more. :)

  3. Oh, Pearl. This is terribly tragic. And beautifully told.

  4. My heart aches for you and I know from experience that complete feeling of loss. I lost mine at 11 weeks. The poem is so beautiful and full of pathos.

    1. Aww Barbara - there are some aches that truly never do completely disappear - despite the passage of many, many years - my heart goes out to you as well. I had some serious reservations about this prompt and wrote a prose piece about it which can be accessed at my blog as well.

  5. The naive doctor simply didn't seem to realise how his comment could affect you. Your poem brings out a deep sense of loss and something more. 'A perfect baby' 'Just in the wrong place'. May make a mother feel guilty even though it's just not her fault.

  6. Thank you all:). As I said I had serious reservations about writing to this prompt - deeply appreciate each and every sweet comment!!!!

  7. So terribly painful, to lose a baby.........well meaning comments can wound so deeply, the one who utters them oblivious to the pain she has caused. So sorry, Pearl. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Sherry - Thanks - this was long ago and in response to a prompt which i still have some reservations about to write about one's "worst" moment - in fact I wrote a prose piece on the prompt itself included in a link at the bottom of this posting. Yes, the comments were absolutely well-meaning, but still echo ALL these many many years later.

  8. Hi all : This "worst" experience was deeply painful but not when all is said and done the "worst" moment of my life - in fact I had as described elsewhere some serious reservations about responding to such a prompt and wrote a prose piece reflecting on such which can be accessed on this blog. I would greatly enjoy your comments on requests for deep personal disclosure if you are so inclined.

  9. Heart-rending, Pearl. I hope the writing was cathartic.

    1. Awwww Rosemary ... long, long ago. .... now a almost was that is part of the continuing is.... (I think that might make some sense to you ).... Thank you for stopping and commenting. You are still very much in my thoughts and those thoughts are inevitably of love :)