Friday Under the Magnolias

This past Friday, many local friends joined us in Central Park to picnic and play under the magnolias.  It was a really joyful occasion, filled with children playing and adults connecting with each other, surrounded by gorgeous pink blossoms.  We are excited to make it an annual occasion, a chance to be with people we care about, remembering Magnolia in the company of the blossoming magnolias.
This season's blooming of magnolias has carried such sad comparisons, the radiant and glorious but brief life of the blossoms echoing our daughter's short time with us.  As with our Magnolia, we've been admiring and cherishing the blossoms while they're here, and they will linger with us long after they've fallen.


Planting a tree

Yesterday we planted a magnolia tree in our backyard. We had
planned to do this since Magnolia's birth, had saved her placenta so that it could
nourish the tree and help it flourish. But there was a lot we still hadn't
figured out about what we wanted our backyard to be, so the project had been put

And so yesterday, we planted the tree and buried not only her placenta but also
the ashes of her body with it. It was another devastating moment in this
heartbreaking time, a moment that pointed out how short Magnolia’s life was,
how terribly wrong this all is.

But it was also a beautiful moment, with members of both of our families here to
plant the tree with so much love for Magnolia, to create a perfect memorial to
her that will be here for the rest of our lives and blossom each spring to evoke
the wonder of her brief life.

We told Delphinium that we would be reading poetry at the tree planting and she said that she would write her own poem.  Her poem and the others we read are included here. 

In the morning
In her crib
“Duhduh” comes out of her mouth
Awakening me
Covering me with glee
Smile on her face lightens up the room
 By Delphinium

Opus From Space   
By Pattiann Rogers

Almost everything I know is glad
to be born – not only the desert orangetip,
on the twist flower or tansy, shaking
birth moisture from its wings, but also the naked
warbler nesting, head wavering toward sky,
and the honey possum, the pygmy possum,
blind, hairless thimbles of forward,
press and part.
Almost everything I've seen pushes
toward the place of that state as if there were
no knowing any other – the violent crack
and seed-propelling shot of the witch hazel pod,
the philosophy implicit in the inside out
seed-thrust of the wood-sorrel. All hairy
saltcedar seeds are single-minded
in their grasping of wind and spinning
for luck toward birth by water.
And I'm fairly shocked to consider
all the bludgeonings and batterings going on
continually, the head-rammings, wing-furors,
and beak-crackings fighting for release
inside gelatinous shells, leather shells,
calcium shells or rough, horny shells. Legs
and shoulders, knees and elbows flail likewise
against their womb walls everywhere, in pine
forest niches, seepage banks and boggy
prairies, among savannah grasses, on woven
mats and perfumed linen sheets.
Mad zealots, every one, even before
beginning they are dark dust-congealings
of pure frenzy to come to light.
Almost everything I know rages to be born,
the obsession founding itself explicitly
in the coming bone harps and ladders,
the heart-thrusts, vessels and voices
of all those speeding with clear and total
fury toward this singular honor.

Dirge Without Music
By Edna St. Vincent Millay

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains, but the best is lost.

The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,
They are gone. They are gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.
After Life
By George Sibley

After we wake up from living
We no longer need to make fire
For the heat we no longer need
In the bright crystal morning ahead.

Unseen but felt we mourn our loss
With those we've lost, till we wake up
To our gain, and leave wondering then,
On the back of a deer or a hummingbird.

And we go till, freed, we forget and find
Ourselves in places so lovely, so fine,
We want to be there a while, a night or a moon,
Or to maybe be there a tree for a life.

And there we're a tree, then, for a leafing of time
And, if blessed, something of those
We loved will come to sit under us,
Or in our branches build nests, or just sing.