Sharlee is, of course, one of my favorite people and poets. I love this one of hers because it so well describes a yearning and a conflict that most of us Segullah women have felt. I've always loved this poem and now that I read it again I am embarrassed to find out how I stole some of the images and even phrases for some of my own poems. Unwittingly, unconsciously, but stolen nonetheless. Luckily Sharlee loves me anyway. (Sharlee is a member of my writing group and an accomplished children's writer as well as poet.)
Blood and Milk
by Sharlee Mullins Glenn
I dreamed of Oxford . . .
. (spires, a thousand spires, endless lectures,
. musty halls
. a solitary self in a Bodleian expanse
. A good life my dear Wormwood. An orderly life.)
then awakened to laundry
. and things to be wiped
. countertops, noses, bottoms)
How did this happen? And when, exactly?
Time flows, it flows, it flows
and there are choices to be made:
. left or right?
. paper or plastic?
. blood or milk?
There's freedom in the bleeding;
bondage in the milk—do not be deceived.
Ah, but it's an empty freedom; a holy bondage,
A sweet and holy bondage.
Five times I chose the chains, those tender chains,
(though once will bind you just as well!)
and checked the crimson flow.
Suckled while dreaming of Trinity Term
but awakened, always awakened, to the laundry
and to that small and cherished captor at my breast.