A Grey Week
I’ve always been an avid reader. From science fiction, to real crime, to non-fiction novels to psychology books, if a book is in print and I come across it chances are I’ll devour it. I’ve tried reading books and short stories online too, but it’s not the same. I love the weight of a book in my hands, the feel of the pages as I hold and turn them, love waking up from a nap with an open book on my chest.
Lately, in an effort to take some of my focus off the negative medical side of this pregnancy, I’ve started reading out loud. All the pregnancy books seem to recommend it from the second trimester onwards.
Now I don’t know if you know this, I certainly didn’t, but it seems fetuses have a literary sense and strong reading preferences! The first day I tried this little exercise, I felt a bit foolish as I was met with silence. Not that I expected a reaction of any sort, but reading aloud to another person who is not yet a person and is not a physically separate being from one’s self is a peculiar experience at best. We went through Bill Bryson’s “Down Under”, Richard Bentall’s “Madness Explained” and Robert Marion’s “Genetic Rounds” like that. I had honestly started thinking that’s what the experience should be like, solitary and a bit tedious but good for brain development; after all how would one expect a fetus to react to literature?!
Everything changed when I picked up William Blake’s “Songs of Innocence”. Every verse was met with a kick; every poem seemed to make my little one more and more reactive. I thought that surely a fetus can’t react like that to poetry and that the experience was a fluke, our reading time must have simply coincided with a time of natural activity. Only the next day, instead of going for another book I reached for Blake again and the sequence was repeated. The first kick came a few verses into the first poem and the last one shortly after I read the last verse out loud. A few days later when I, sneakily, tried to read prose after the poems to see if the kicks would continue I found that any reaction stopped with prose! So for half an hour each day, I lie in bed and read poems out loud to what seems to me to be a captive audience (either that or the kicks indicate a serious dislike of poetry!).
Poetry has never been my forte. Besides some of the classics like William Blake and W.B. Yeats I’ve read little else. Armed with google I looked for interesting poetry books and came across Alison Luterman’s work. I love the sound of William Blake’s poems, the flow of his words. Alison Luterman’s poems are an entirely different experience, for me. They are like living, breathing entities with the power to step out of the page and come to life. They speak to something deep inside me, something chthonic that reacts only to darkness and emotions. So lately that’s what we’ve been reading!
It’s been a grey week. One of those weeks that are completely devoid of colour, life and vibrance. I’ve spent most of my days in a car between hospital appointments or in small hospital cubicles full of doctors and researchers. It’s been a lonely week; one of those rare times where sanity seems forever illusive and despair is circling, readying to plunge its claws into whatever piece of skin it can reach. One thing that’s kept a semblance of sanity and psychological balance within reach for me this week has been that half an hour of poetry and baby kicks each afternoon. It is the only time when a bit of colour manages to seep into the day. I hope next week will be easier and a bit more optimistic.
In the meantime I’ll leave you with a link for one of my favourite Alison Luterman poems and a question; how has your week been so far?