I want…pomegranates and rosewater
Journal extract from 4.10.2007
It’s autumn now…and I am almost fully pregnant with my second child…we planted a pomegranate tree in the front garden, it was like planting my mother as i have such strong associations with her and that fruit. Her story of picking them from their orchard in Namin, (their village near Ardabil, North West Iran), throwing one against the wall to soften it and then piercing it to suck out the juice, feeling it hit the back of the neck..delicious…
A ritual i try to pass on whenever i can..(the method of eating, rather than the picking of course..we don’t expect actual fruit from ours..)
On Saturday there was a Birth Blessing Circle for me here with about 20 of my female friends,(mainly local) facilitated by my closest friend Maria. We began by drinking pomegranate and rosewater.
I had never heard of Birth blessings (or Blessingways as they are called in the US) but I knew I needed to be encircled by a loving community of women, as mum is not here this time around to encircle me like she did in 2004.
It was an extraordinary experience and enabled me to let go of my last birth experience, acknowledge my mother and my ancestors as present in the process, create a way of being for this birth – abandon and acceptance!
And, while being pampered and sung to by everyone, open up to the support and love of a warm gathering of great women from all eras of my life. It took place in the front room, where i will be labouring, which now feels like a very powerful and ready space. We feasted afterwards together with the men and children who joined us and I had made salmon with dill and rice, the dish mum used to make at large gatherings. It will soon be three years since she left this world and Delia arrived.
Notes, looking back: I managed to birth Moses in that very room and we buried the placenta underneath the pomegranate tree – much to the alarm of some of my family…
More on: ‘I want’ (2012), which I posted up last time and which is on show in Manchester at the moment, is a small piece consisting of a wrapped pair of childs shoes. This edition is a personal one – they are Moses’ – first shoes and they are bound with an extract from a poem that I pulled out at random after wrapping, from Sufi poet Rumi (good old bibliomancy), entitled ‘Moses and The Shepherd’ (!), challenging notions that there is a ‘right’ way to address or worship the ‘divine’. A poem about service to a beloved other, from which I took:
(Moses heard a shepherd on the road praying, “God,
where are you?) I want to help You, to fix Your shoes and comb your hair. I want to wash Your clothes, and pick the lice off. I want to bring You milk, to kiss Your little hands and feet when it’s time, for You to go to bed. I want to sweep Your room and keep it neat. God, my sheep and my goats are Yours. All I can say, remembering You, is ayyyyyyy and ahhhhhhhh.”
Looking up this text online I found Coleman Barks (my favourite translator of Rumi) doing an accompanied reading of the whole poem, here. I love: ‘Burn up your thinking, Moses!’