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Mary’s Birth Story: The Poems of Lucille Clifton

Poetry Lucille Clifton Song of Mary

As a devoted birth professional, I've always felt a fascination with Mary's side of the story as we approach Christmas. As a young woman I discovered a series of five Mary poems by powerful poet Lucille Clifton. From Mary's childhood with a future already written, to her experience of conception, birth, and motherhood, these poems for me offer a unique imagined perspective on the story told in her voice. I've always meant to gather them in one place together, as every year I have to comb the internet to find them again. This is the year! I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

A Song of Mary

somewhere it being yesterday.
i a maiden in my mother’s house.
the animals silent outside.
is morning.
princes sitting on thrones in the east
studying the incomprehensible heavens.
joseph carving a table somewhere
in another place.
i watching my mother.
i smiling an ordinary smile.
- Lucille Clifton

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Mary's Dream

winged women was saying
"full of grace" and like.
was light beyond sun and words
of a name and a blessing.
winged women to only i.
i joined them, whispering
yes.
- Lucille Clifton

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Holy Night

Joseph, I afraid of stars,
their brilliant seeing.
so many eyes, such light.
joseph, I cannot still these limbs,
I hands keep moving toward I breasts,
so many stars. so bright.
joseph, is wind burning from east
joseph, I shine, oh joseph, oh
illuminated night.
- Lucille Clifton

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Island Mary

after the all been done and i
one old creature carried on
another creature's back, i wonder
could i have fought these thing?
surrounded by no son of mine save
old men calling Mother like in the tale
the astrologer tell, i wonder
could i have walk away when voices
singing in my sleep? i one old woman.
always i seem to worrying now for
another young girl asleep
in the plain evening.
what song around her ear?
what star still choosing?
- Lucille Clifton

About Sarah Juliusson

Hi there, I’m Sarah Juliusson, The Website Doula. I support your practice growth with creative website design, seasoned business guidance, and plenty of great resources to help you find your way. With 20+ years as a doula and childbirth educator, I believe in the value of your work as much as you do. >> learn more about my work as the website doula