Earth’s Lullaby, or To the Child Now Grown by Kathleen McCoy


“Earth’s Lullaby, or To the Child Now Grown” by Kathleen McCoy


Before the wooly mammoth pounded here,

before the wings of pterosaurs cleaved this brittle sky

and pieces shattered, when

                               glacier-fed streams

greened the earth and bobbins of purple and gold

bejeweled the grass, I saw you. I dreamed you,

you danced behind your daddy’s eyes,

                                and as the mammoth

crashed and the ground glazed over with ices, I

breathed deeply and the earth glowed red-

warm and clawing, raw and

                                regular, and you

who were not yet born, not yet free to feel

the weight of spirit encased in tingling and hunger,

nodded, pounded, insisted

                                it was your turn

to ride the plains and till the soil and mine glimmer

from the planet, to skin hides and chew on flesh

and litter fields with rot and bones

                                 and so, because

I knew you to belong where you longed to be, because

I knew your stink and laughter before you did, I

breathed, oh, deeply, from

                                the ribs inside which

your earth is turning, I breathed you, and the pain

of it, the joy of birthing of generation after generation

has made you no less than it made me.

                                I disappear

at your will. I reappear at a whisper of your

thought. See the hole in the center of your belly.

                                And where

you will go—I see the worlds beyond your world

for you have worlds inside your ribs as well. Breathe.

Just breathe, my blue beauty. Your breathing

                                turns the world.



Kathleen McCoy’s Artist Statement: I consider myself a poet, playwright, professor, mentor, creative, traveler, and leader. I’m also a mom, wife, twin sister, daughter, aunt, great aunt, deacon, singer, crafter, and speaker. I work with university women and students from all walks of life on nurturing their creative writing, valuing themselves and each other, and seeking enrichment through diversity, literacy, and the sacred.

Author: A Room of Her Own

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