What I love about poetry is how it allows us to view our lives through a different prism: one that breaks apart the pieces of our experience into rainbow colors and then focuses them with clarity that can be blinding in its insight.
When I became a parent, it was natural — even necessary — to explore my new adventures (and misadventures) through the lens of poetry.
Did we dream you into existence,
or was it more mundane?
When you open yourself up to writing poetry, you open yourself to reexamining and memorializing what was meaningful to you, even the hard moments.
Feeling you leave in a gush of pain and red,
in the blackest and loneliest part of the night …
Why were we led all that way, and never to see your face?
Poetry gives a voice to the sublime stories you want to retell and re-envision.
You slipped out to our surprise, …
a flashing red-purple,
wriggling in the water, and finally hauled in,
turning it around
and catching us in your net
And it elevates the everyday into song.
You sleep beside us
for the waking together
you point out
I've been writing poetry for years — handmade diaries from junior high glittering with stanzas in pink and green ink, earnest fountain-pen scrawls on random pieces of notepaper from college. But nothing has inspired me more than parenting — this wild, enlightening, exhausting, wonderful journey.
What can I learn in two years together
What have you changed in me
Even if you don't consider yourself A Poet, even if you've never written (or read!) a poem in your life, I encourage you — I urge you — to pick up a pen or sit at a keyboard and give it a try. Consider an image, or a moment, and take a walk into your imagination. Describe it, feel it, relive it, and find the meaning for yourself that you can now share with others. As parents, all our writing opportunities are limited and hurried, but a poem is short — and therefore a possibility for an unexpected interlude.
One-handed now, lap filled,
breast claimed, you furtively search
for the letters, the keys,
the strain to capture your thoughts in the dark.
If you'd like some direction, I have a whole month's worth of parenting-poetry prompts from my recent Weekly Parenting Poetry Workshop here. The workshop is over for now, but you can free verse it (so to speak). The writers who came alongside for the workshop didn't consider themselves poets — but look what they created.
Who knew a heart could stretch farther
than even the body around it
that housed you each in succession?
Who knew love could flow out and envelop
so big a group — bigger —
and never grow anything but thicker,
like the blood joining us all together?
Flex your pen, find your voice, and explore your parenting through poetry.
You can purchase Lauren Wayne's Poetry of a Hobo Mama: The First Three Years at Amazon in hard copy or as an e-book. And for a limited time, Poetry of a Hobo Mama is available as part of the Mindful Parenting eBundle, 20+ gentle parenting resources for one incredible price of $24.95. Buy your copy today, because the bundle with Lauren's book and many others will be available only until June 10.
Lauren Wayne lives and writes in the Pacific Northwestern USA, with her husband, Sam, and their two sweet boys: six-year-old Mikko and two-year-old Alrik. She has been writing and publishing poetry for twenty years, but parenting has added even more inspiration. Lauren blogs at Hobo Mama about natural and attachment parenting, and gives a behind-the-scenes look at writing at LaurenWayne.com. She co-hosts the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting and is a cofounder of Natural Parents Network, a site that brings together attachment parents interested in a natural lifestyle.
Photo credits: Author