Holy Work

I’ve been reading a lot of birth poetry lately.  For reasons which I can’t quite yet delve into in this moment (still keeping things on the down-low, if you know what I mean), I’ve been revisiting my calling to midwifery, and finding that it is still singing it’s siren song, as strong as ever as I begin to explore new paths.  Renewed, revitalized, I’ve been posting pictures to pinterest which move to my very soul, and have been finding poetry which does the same.  There are two amazing poems I wanted to share here.  When I first began my journey as a new midwife, my midwifery classmates and I performed a Hand Blessing ceremony, and I dedicated my hands to doing the work of the Goddess on this earthly plane,  helping mothers to bring new life into the world.  Some days, in the hospital, it’s so easy to forget, which is where the poetry comes in to play as a gentle reminder to NEVER forget: we are doing holy work.  To stand at the entrance, at the very gate of life, in that moment where the veil between the worlds is thin and a new soul is manifesting–to stand with a woman as she digs deeper than she has ever dug before, breaking down the very core of her identity until she can’t even remember who she is, only to rebuild herself again the instant that she gives birth not only as a woman but as a mother–to watch her do this, and support her through it–this is holy, indeed.  Below are two poems which I feel express this very thing so perfectly they made me both cry.  Enjoy!

Incarnation, by BlissRipple

My prayer was, “Help me,
Help me,”
prayed to Him—
the Emerging.
Knees bent, pooled in water,
arms pressed hard against
the smooth white-wall
before me.

Back-arched & aching, thighs shaking
with one last guttural hum,
Ohm Shakti

The thick velvet veil was torn.
That bathtub was transformed
into the Holiest of Holies.

Down He rode in His chariot of fire,
a crimson wave
of red sea parted.
My God,
blue as Krishna,
to lay idol heavy
upon my chest,
flush pink and heaving.

Rose raindrops streak
ivory pillars now stilled
from the quaking.
At their arch evidence
of His exalted exodus.

He who delivered me,
carried me to the gates of Isis
and scrawled “Mother” across
my bearing  breasts.

From that labyrinth belly
I emerged
my inner chambers bare.
And on the platter of my chest
the bearer of first communion served
salted milk— in the robes
from which we came:


Blessed Be, by Leigh Steele (author of This Holy Work, which is where I was most recently reminded again of the holiness of what we do)

If you’ve ever wondered what it looks like to see a poem write itself, kneel on a warm floor and watch a mother unfurl herself to make way for the passage of her baby.

If you’ve ever pondered what a poem sounds like, close your eyes and listen to the song that fills every empty space in a room as a woman rains down her tune in birth.

If you’ve ever wondered how a poem moves from stanza to stanza, then pull up a chair to the wild eyes behind the sweaty hair of a maiden morphing into a mother.

And if, by chance, you’ve ever wondered what a poem tasted like on your tongue, kiss the head of a babe fresh from from the womb and then the temple of the woman who just brought her forth.

If you’ve ever thought about what it means for the invited to be the one serving, sit on your hands and see if you can hold back tears at the image of a woman standing in her own circle of power.

Blessed be this holy work that has allowed me tender entry.

This entry was posted in Birth Art, Good Enough to Share, Labor and Birth, Myth, Folklore and Ritual. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>