And so I stitch.
No more music to be done until March sessions, so I listen to what has already been done while I stitch. And I listen to the songs to be re-recorded while I stitch. I now have the lyrics of twelve songs on the wall. The Agreement states we will work on developing twelve, but will only finish nine recordings. A couple of these have no music. One may actually remain as spoken words rather than sung. The words would need adjusting to become a song, and I quite like them as they are. I am going to simply record them so I can listen to them, as I stitch, to help me make a decision. These are very personal words, written about my second son’s premature birth. I have a maternity bra I’m stitching these words straight onto. I may not actually need or want them recorded in the same straight way.
To be honest, I’ve been having trouble with the whole motherhood issue. Of course it has to be addressed. I kept trying to write about Universal Motherhood (with capitals) forgetting my own tenet that there is nothing more universal than the very personal.
So I track back and dig out these words, written in 2011, about my sons birth in 1995. He was five weeks early, he was 3lb 10oz. He was beautiful, and delicate, and fragile… But otherwise healthy. The energy required to feed took more calories than he was able to ingest, so he was fed with expressed milk in very tiny amounts by naso-gastric tube for nearly two weeks. We watched his skin get thicker by the day, we watched him get bigger and become more aware, gripping our fingers and looking into our eyes. Once he could take a feed without the tube, and was heading towards five pounds, we took him home.
unable to keep yourself warm
in the glass case like a museum treasure
not to be handled at all
kept alive by science not nature
a tube, a light, a constant beep
how can you sleep?
stroked through a porthole
taken out briefly
once a day
to be held
can see the veins and the bones
can see how you work
delicate translucent skin
downy like silk
you get stronger each day on tube-dripped milk
till you are able to get it yourself
its good for your health
whispered words to protect
from amplified sound
sixteen days in over-warm rooms
to be loved
Both my sons were small and early… But Liam was a little scary… A test of a mother’s determination. I had been almost immediately discharged from hospital, Liam admitted to special care. I stayed with him all day, every day. Watching, holding when I could, feeding him 5ml of milk at a time.
While he lay under lights, in an incubator, I stitched.
This poem is about my son’s early days…
That precious grit, fierce protection, ensuring the survival of my child by whatever means I had available to me. The fight that only that intensity of love can provide…
This is the most personal of the pieces made or written so far. If you tell me this piece is crap, I will be violent. Don’t say you weren’t warned!
And so I stitch these words…
And here he is now.
Certainly not fragile.
Definitely not delicate!