Friday, August 1, 2008

Earth Mother 79 AD

A dozen or so bodies have been recovered nearly intact from the ancient ruins of Pompei (near Naples, Italy). Three are on public display, encased in plastic for perservation. One touched my heart in a special way and continues to haunt me--a pregnant woman who died in an instant face to the earth.

Some background. My wife and I have two daughters whom we welcomed into our family at pre-school age. We never had a baby in our family. I never had to change a diaper. Since the birth of our first grandchild in 2007, I have discoved close-up the marvels and wonders of new birth, and yes, I've changed a few poopie diapers, too. I've discovered a wonderous stage of being--infancy--that I'd never paid attention to before. I've learned the universal language of new-born life.

Upon meeting this Pompei mother, millenia deceased, we made a spiritual connection. I had to write about this experience, but I choked on early prose versions of my story. The only way to express the moment we had shared was in verse. . . . as follows:

Pompei--August 24, 79 A.D.

It fell so fast the
cloud of death;
no chance for aid—
on stone-laid street
my one last step;

eyes down, face hid,
womb pressed to earth,
brief shield ’gainst fire-
flung stone—a crib
for babe’s long sleep.

Pompei . . . July 10, 2008 A.D.

I gawk, snap, feel
out of place, no
right to break your
rest; yet I am
slave to your grace.

Was this new life
your first sweet fruit,
love’s best of gifts?
Did some die home,
no mom to hold?

From lava tomb you
rose to see day’s
light and through time’s
thin veil hail my
soul: You know me.

Our tour moves on
to sites fresh dug;
with a glance, I
bid good-bye, carve
you on my heart.

You stir this old
dad’s core, set late
to flame with awe
of new-born life.
I’ll give you voice.

Copyright (c) 2008, Alfred J. Garrotto