Saturday, December 25, 2010

Prayer For a New Mother

Image via Wikipedia
Prayer For a New Mother
by Dorothy Parker

The things she knew, let her forget again-
The voices in the sky, the fear, the cold,
The gaping shepherds, and the queer old men
Piling their clumsy gifts of foreign gold.

Let her have laughter with her little one;
Teach her the endless, tuneless songs to sing,
Grant her her right to whisper to her son
The foolish names one dare not call a king.

Keep from her dreams the rumble of a crowd,
The smell of rough-cut wood, the trail of red,
The thick and chilly whiteness of the shroud
That wraps the strange new body of the dead.

Ah, let her go, kind Lord, where mothers go
And boast his pretty words and ways, and plan
The proud and happy years that they shall know
Together, when her son is grown a man.

4 comments:

Karin said...

Thanks for sharing this prayer with us. "But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart," is the verse that comes to the surface as I read the prayer.

Hydriotaphia said...

That's beautiful. Had no idea Parker wrote such spiritual poetry but what a life.

Tuirgin said...

By way of compliment and response I offer Pasternak's The Star of the Nativity, as well as the Brodsky poem of the same name, which I posted on the 23rd.

Laurie M. said...

Kevin, I know nothing about Parker beyond what Wikipedia contributes, but from what I do know I'd say spirituality, at least as I define it, was not her strong suit. I daresay Paul knows quite a bit more, though. She was a contemporary and friend of one of his favorites, Alexander Woolcott.

All that aside, the poem is heartbreakingly beautiful, as is appropriate, and a reflection, for me anyway, on the true humanity of Christ, and the very "earthy" truth of the Incarnation. Mary was a real girl, a real mother.

How does a human mother love the infant Son of God?
Like a human mother.