Saturday, January 20, 2018


Many of you know I have belonged to a writing  group for years.
We meet on Mondays for two hours and a leader gives prompts to which each responds in any way they wish and in any style or format. There's a time limit and depending on how many are present at each session,we usually manage two prompts per session. Most of us read out loud to the group but there is no obligation to share. Responses to a piece are confined to 'what I remember' or what I liked'. This is not about restructuring or critiquing.We've been on a long holiday break with an extra stretch due to the MLK Holiday, so this first prompt of our Winter session was sent by mail:

January by William Carlos Williams

Again I reply to the triple winds
running chromatic fifths of derision
outside my window:
Play louder.
You will not succeed. I am
bound more to my sentences
the more you batter at me
to follow you.
And the wind,
as before, fingers perfectly
its derisive music.

The first Cut
(some verses for my seventy fifth birthday)
by Michelle Slater

Sirens silenced the howling winds.
A bloody trail marked the steps
of a shocked mother rushed
through Emergency to
the operating theater.

An incision of 6 inches was made
through her lower abdomen,
then a second incision
opened her uterus.
I was delivered.

Thus unto this rude world I came.
Elsewhere, my father was
told I was probably dead.
It proved quite untrue
I howled the proof.

The storm raged all night and day.
I was swaddled and held apart.
In recovery, unavailable,
drugged to sleep, my
wounded mother.

What I felt I can not remember,
only imagine the pain of it,
the loneliness and fear
of that brutal welcome
hearing wind howl.

Childhood amnesia veils it all
for many years until one day
a bleeding wound becomes
the memory of something.
Howling confirms it.

This second cut sinks way down,
down to the level of the first,
carries it upward where
it joins the current pain.
Howling's the familiar.

It goes on like that into adolescence,
through adulthood and to old age,
so that every cut of every kind
might call the first to mind,
make a calm wind howl.

Actual Birth by Surgery


Peggy McG said...

Your writing is beautiful and reflects your wonderful deep personality.
Do you have any published writings?

Mo Crow said...

Best Wishes for lots of fun & wonder for your birthday (((Michelle)))

Unknown said...

Wow,incredible. This is Amber.
I could feel it when I watched the video of the baby being born via c section.

rimbalzo said...

the world welcomed a good and kind soul when you were born.
make gentle breezes carry you another year.

Nancy said...

Oh Michelle! You words of your arrival are so powerful! I am so deeply grateful you arrived here safely, even if in such a dramatic fashion. You are my friend, I adore you. The video was pretty difficult to see, especially while thinking of you :)

Linda said...

Happy Birthday Michelle

alsokaizen said...

Happy belated birthday michelle!! I hope it was a good one :)