I am posting my special birthday tribute to Michael a day early, in anticipation of the fact that I will be leaving town early on the 29th, heading for Gary, and will not be back until Monday, September 3.
About a year ago I began writing a collection of poems that I planned, eventually, to encompass Michael’s entire life, from birth to death. I have kept these poems pretty much under wraps (mostly because I’m a perfectionist who never trusts that my work is “good enough” until I’ve revised about fifty million times!) but in the spirit of celebrating Michael’s birth and his extraordinary life, I will share with you the first three poems of the series. When I began the collection, my idea-being very much inspired by Dancing The Dream-was to write a series of poems in Michael’s own voice, telling his own story as he might have told it. There were times when I could almost hear his lilting voice in my head, channeling these words through me! I still have much more to go, but I hope you will enjoy these first three pieces. They hold a special place in my own heart, as I felt, with these, that I was connecting to a period in his life that was his last vestige of true innocence.
I am also very proud and honored to accompany these poems with the beautiful original artwork of Mimi O’ Garren, who has given me permission to use them. These are some of the same prints that I will be (hopefully) presenting in a special book to Katherine, Prince, Paris, and Blanket on August 31st for the Everland Project.
I told Mimi that since I would be gone for several days, I wanted to have something beautiful on the front page for readers to see and appreciate until I can return to post about the events in Gary. I think these prints fit the bill just fine, for they are definitely beautiful, are they not?
Just like Michael.
In the meantime, I will try to update via Facebook and Twitter when I can, but there is no guarantee I will have internet access, so please be patient. Unlike 99.9% of the world’s population, I am not entirely mobile yet-I’m still hung back with the horse and buggy! Remember that if you leave a comment, your comment may be held in que until I can release it (especially if you are a new poster). I will still be here throughout today (the 28th), so if you have any last minute well wishes or messages for Katherine and the kids, please send them on. After tomorrow, I will not have access to approve comments, so if yours does get held in que, just hang tight. I will release all comments as soon as I return next week.
My mother said-
I was born on a hot summer night
That no moon shone.
Her water broke by accident;
Later the contractions began; the
Rhythm not ceasing till I came to be.
I was silent and scared her
In my silence till the doctor’s slap-
Afterwards she held me,
Caressed my long fingers-
Which she said made her think
Of her father-in-law
And then held me quiet to her chest
Till I cried no more, for I was safe there
More safe than I would ever be again.
I slept to the beating of her heart
The first rhythm I ever recalled
And thus it began for me,
The rhythm of this dance
Called life.-(c) Raven Woods
When I came home-
I didn’t know yet I was one of many.
The world existed only for me
In this blissful state that leaves too soon.
Over who would hold me, play with me, eventually
Teach me wrong from right and sometimes right
To wrong again; we would live and learn together.
I didn’t know Mother sang songs to keep from crying.
I didn’t know then that one day Father
Would tell me not to call him that anymore.
It was good times. I grew.-(c) Raven Woods
My brother said-
I mocked him by age three; stole his moves.
It wasn’t like I was stealing; just mimicking what I saw
Only even then I had a natural knack
To take what I saw
And make it better.
Mother said I danced to the squeak of the washing machine,
Hand on hip like I already knew what cool was.
I could have told them I didn’t know Cool yet
But I did know the meaning of being happy, secure.
I climbed the trees in our back yard. I imagined
I was like the birds; sometimes without Mother knowing
I fed and petted the rats who snuck inside.
I loved them all-the birds, the rats-I loved the rats because
They were misunderstood; the birds because they were free
And happy, like me.
It was all so brief, so brief.
One day I woke up, five years old,
Beating my wings against a cage;
I never even saw the door snap shut; the bars come down.
But one day I sang for my school.
I sang “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” and didn’t understand
Why it made my grandpa Samuel cry; looking out,
I saw many crying, some standing. Everyone was clapping.
I felt so happy inside knowing I had made them happy
But still did not understand why grandpa cried
I only knew later that day when I played
It was the last time I would know what it meant
To sing and be free
At the same time. -(c) Raven Woods