New Mother, Turning To the Kora


New Mother, Turning To the Kora

When you still fit
my arms
like an instrument
beating rhythms
at my heart, you would, at times,
cry without cease,
without reason–without reason that I
could reason out–and I, almost without
reason myself, would play a music
of Kora and guitar
in which the strings,
sounding of bells,
plucked us from the closed-in walls
and wails,
lifted us
from the hard wood floor we walked, transported us
to some bigger brighter world where sun streamed
vibrationally, where leaves echoed, where
life strolled, where tears caught in scrunched cheeks seemed almost
ripples re-centering a well
on a day when one
craved water, a natural wrinkle
of wells and water.

Whirled shine glinted
upon our faces whether we looked
up or down, and even though, in that apartment,
metal gates shadowed the nearest windows;
we knew–even as an infant you could hear–
that the music held want as well
as tinkle, that knells mourn even as
they proclaim, that the lone also
still you at last would smile, me
too, as if both of us were tuned
by those stringed scales,
so gratefully tethered.

Here’s a draftish sort of poem just written for Marian Kent’s prompt on With Real Toads to respond to the wonderful music of Ali Farke Toure and Toumani Diabate–I love this music!  When I was a new mother, I had a record that I used to listen to again and again –part of the subject of this poem.  It is magical beautiful music.  Thank you, Marian, for reminding me of it.  (This poem has been slightly edited since first posting.)

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11 Comments on “New Mother, Turning To the Kora”

  1. Lindy Lee Says:

    “Draftish” to you but ‘beautifully done’ to me…

  2. “the music held want as well as tinkle”….brilliant! I so adore this poem!

  3. janehewey Says:

    oh, this is definitely a new favorite. your flow and rhythm are full of life and love. First of all, your opening is like a waterfall. I remember moments of getting lost when all seemed lost, giving up to the tears and the whatever-elses. and to be carried as an instrument by music. I can not think of a lovelier way to be tuned in than by music itself.

  4. Marian Says:

    oooooh Karin! i heart this, love love love it. my babies, oh the pain of their colicky months and the “witching hour” in which they could really not be consoled… except that occasionally Wilco would work with my boy, and Neil Young (only the song The Painter, on repeat) with my girl. i felt every word of this very lovely piece in my heart. oh thank you. xoxo

  5. brian miller Says:

    a cool moment/memory captured…the times with the new life in your arms…and the music that became part of those moments for youa nd for them…that is such a cool picture as well k…

  6. claudia Says:

    i love that you played music when they were crying… i used to sing a lot then and i really think that music makes its way to the heart when other things fail… part of the magic… love the pic and need to check out the music you mention..

  7. hedgewitch Says:

    “..where sun streamed
    vibrationally, where leaves echoed..”–you really got me with this place you created through, basically, the intensity of your desire to comfort–the portrait of the true maternal, seeking the music that heals. I remember those difficult times, and that comfort seemed very far away and difficult to find. I also love your drawing, but the writing here is what sticks in the heart.

  8. Kerry O'Connor Says:

    I never come away from your poetry without the sense that I have gained something – something intellectual, something emotional, something good.

    Your poetry is so rich in all these things.

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