The House of Childhood
We return to the place
where we first heard voices,
smelled the air and tasted nourishment,
where hands caressed or frightened us,
where comfort was our cocoon
or neglect made us shiver.
The tears of harm are cold,
the tears of joy warm as a lagoon.
We carry the house of childhood within us,
and spying through its translucent walls
we keep life at a distance-or embrace it.
Ode to Water
I am a nymph,
I inhabit the rivers, lakes and streams,
sing to the brooks, the ocean,
dance to life starting within.
I rise as a mermaid
an aquatic creature,
quell the thirst of the earth,
mix with the air.
The moon is my lover,
together we balance
the rhythm of the tides.
Crying is a Gift
I dislike sentimentality
and have always thought
that tears should be shed sparingly
until our 8 year-old grandson complained,
“I don’t like my friends to laugh when I cry.
How can I be happy again if I don’t cry?”
Tears are our release
from joy and sorrow
and like a stream
they gurgle over small stones
or gush over ravines,
all ending in the universal maelstrom
of lament and comfort.
Years ago at bedtime
my grandson’s chubby arms
squeezed my neck like a boa.
Now that he is growing up
my arms encircle him.
He squirms at my affection
and wriggles free from my embrace.
Then as his long legs stride out
he glances back,
tossing me a smile back.
They are folded together like a blanket,
desire strong as ever
though the flesh is weak.
They sink into each other’s warmth,
savoring the tenderness welling up
from a life well-lived together.
“The House of Childhood” and other poems are © Ute Carson
A writer from youth and an M.A. graduate in comparative literature from the University of Rochester, German-born Ute Carson published her first prose piece in 1977. Colt Tailing, a 2004 novel, was a finalist for the Peter Taylor Book Award. Carson’s story The Fall won Outrider Press’s Grand Prize and appeared in its short story and poetry anthology A Walk Through My Garden, 2007. Her second novel In Transit was published in 2008. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals and magazines in the US and abroad. Carson’s poetry was featured on the televised Spoken Word Showcase 2009, 2010 and 2011, Channel Austin, Texas. A poetry collection, Just a Few Feathers was published in 2011. The poem “A Tangled Nest of Moments” placed second in the Eleventh International Poetry Competition 2012. Her chapbook Folding Washing was published in 2013 and her collection of poems My Gift to Life was nominated for the 2015 Pushcart Award Prize. Save the Last Kiss, a novella, was published in 2016. Her new poetry collection Reflections was out in 2018. She received the Ovidiu-Bektore Literary Award 2018 from the Anticus Multicultural Association in Constanta, Romania. In 2018 she was nominated a second time for the Pushcart Award Prize by the
Ute Carson resides in Austin, Texas with her husband. They have three daughters, six grandchildren, a horse and a clowder of cats.
Visit Ute’s website at www.utecarson.com