Poet and Aesthetic Realism consultant Karen Van Outryve recommends “Dear Birds, Tell This to Mothers,” by Eli Siegel. She says:
I loved this poem before I became a mother, because it is so musical and true. As a mother, it means even more to me: it is always a deep comfort and beautiful guide, encouraging wider thought, and reminding me of the purpose a mother should always have.
Dear Birds, Tell This to Mothers
Education consists in instilling into them the universal mind.
— W.T. Stace after Hegel
Fly, birds, over all grieving mothers.
Tell them, if they know more,
They will grieve less.
Tell them that the children they grieve for
Are as mysterious as the God they pray to;
For God’s way is in them.
Tell them that the children who came from their bodies
Have come from so far away,
And from so much;
And that these children
Are going for so much
Of Hell and Heaven, dark and light—
That mothers can be as away from them
As from lost lines in the early poetry of France.
Find the lost lines in
The writing that is your child, mothers
(Dear birds, tell them),
And you will not grieve;
You will stand up
In sweet universality.
You will be God’s mothers,
Not just your own.