It was recently the four year anniversary of the death of Leigh Beisch’s mother. To celebrate her memory, Leigh shared a wonderful post on her own blog about what it means to feel human, be vulnerable and experience loss. She also shared one of her mother’s beautiful poems.
Here is the post in its entirety.
Feeling Human. By Leigh Beisch
When you create art, you must reflect on it. Thinking about what it is to be an artist occupies a lot of time. My teachers along the way have made it clear that as an artist you have to be willing to share your humanity. To not be afraid to reveal yourself in some way. If you are to reveal something true about yourself you need to know who you are and your weaknesses- your humanity. Every year on June 26th I feel my humanity, my loss, my sacrifice, my pain. It may seem sappy- get over it- move on. This is the day I lost my mother to breast cancer four years ago. Each year this day rolls around I remember the pain of losing her. It makes me human, it makes me feel weak. It makes me understand loss. It makes me feel human. I share her poems on this day because in them she is not afraid to show her humanness though her observations of simple moments. Her poetry not only reveals something new about her every time I read them, but they make me look more carefully at the life around me. Each thing gurgling up a new truth. Sharing her poetry lets me keep her alive and show others what a beautiful mind she had.
I am not posting a photo for this entry as the poem conjured up it’s own image.
Spotted at the edge of a clearing, the doe
freezes and in that moment of hesitation,
carelessly exposes a brown flank
with all the insouciance of a woman undressing.
She lifts a delicate hoof and then
reurns it to the snow with all the grace
of someone who was born to run. Once, long ago,
I watched and elephant near Madison Square Garden
being coaxed up onto a ramp. He carefully
placed his giant foot down, then stepped slowly back,
remembering, perhaps, a former collapse.
The elephant knows his great weight in the world,
how the earth opens up, sometimes without warning.
So much of our lives, we spend paralyzed
by indecision, or excessive ambition.
On good days, we go forward…
And sometimes, that elephant’s look comes back,
that great moving mountain of animal sorrows
in moonlight in Manhattan. And that memory of that
midnight scene, that exquisite moment of
an elephant remembering.
© June Beisch
To watch a video of June Beisch’s last poetry reading, link here.