Breath Prayer

It is evening and I have been in labor off and on for 24 hours.  But it is also Thanksgiving Day and the doctor advises me to get some rest and call him in the morning. Unless my water breaks or the contractions become more regular and intense, I will not be delivering my baby today.  So I wait, trying to rest between contractions.  I sit in a large wing chair, legs folded in front of me, like a huge Buddha, staring at the painting which hangs on the wall.  It is a picture of Paris at night and I wonder what it would be like to visit that city.  Soon I am bored with the painting and I close my eyes for a minute or two. 

gentle ocean waves
lap against the shore
moon time

I decide to pray while I wait for this little one to make an entrance.  I am too tired to look for my rosary beads and use my fingers instead.  It is soothing to repeat the familiar words and it does not escape me that I am praying to the mother of all mothers, Mary.  I think for awhile about what her labor must have been like.  The long ride on a donkey, and then no place to sleep for the night, she ends up in a stable with the animals, and then her labor begins.  She is alone except for her spouse, who must have delivered the baby.  I am grateful for a warm, clean house and a spouse (in spite of the fact that he is snoring at the moment)  

breath prayer
a quiet bell rings
in the distance

I put my hands over my belly as if to touch the child within me, the child who will soon leave me.  Will I have a son or a daughter? I try each one on for size, imagining myself holding first, a son, then a daughter.  Soon I am cooing and whispering softly to the child within me.  I don’t ask it any questions or worry about who he or she will be. I savor these last few hours of our oneness. The contractions keep coming but not forcefully or frequently enough to progress my labor, arriving just often enough to interrupt any real rest.

windy day
a child hangs on
to the kite string

So it comes to this.  All through the dark night I learn about waiting. Dozing, walking, lamaze, hail Mary, dozing, walking, lamaze, hail Mary, waiting.  It is a long night. When morning comes, I see the doctor and he admits me to the hospital where they use drugs to jump start my labor.  Still more waiting. It becomes harder to think of anything except pushing the baby out into the world.  I go inside myself to find the strength to do that and finally, the baby arrives.  She tucks herself into the crook of my arm as though she has always been there and I then wait for her to wake up. 

silent night
the kitchen feels so warm
after a long walk

Haibun Journal Issue 2:1

Spring 2020


Day Moon

The reeds make music
In their own greening voices,
They touch one another, like lovers caressing,
And the rustling rises like an anthem.
Sea oats don’t ask for second chances,
They just quiver with life,
And when the breeze passes by
They stand in ecstasy.

A falcon rides an updraft,
Above a sun-beaten shore
Not questioning but soaring,
Wings swooshing as it dives to find
An unsuspecting field mouse,
Whose time has run out,
The final screech unheard, except by the wind.

I walk for miles and miles,
My mind wandering and pondering
The evidence all around,
My eyes sting with the yellow of goldenrod
Born of sand and salt,
My ears ring with the humming of bees
Sucking the last bit of summer.

Late afternoon shadows pull me back
From thoughts that wandered farther than I
Along the beach,
I gather myself up, reluctantly,
Leaving the restless ocean behind.
The wind drums in my ears
This is your one and only chance.
I sense my breath keeping time with the wind,
I melt into the day moon.

The Bards Annual Anthology