An Answer to Wordsworth’s “Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood”
by Debi Swim
Birth is not a continuation, not
a pre-existence of pure light and love.
We did not dance with the angels. Heaven
wasn’t our first abode, but a woman’s womb.
The elements of man and woman met
and mixed and grew in that primeval stage
where the soul and matter become new
then in time pushed into the world without.
And what’s seen are but shadows on a wall
intimating a greater glory, story,
and that is the miracle of our birth –
the acknowledgement there is more beyond
this poorly lighted cave and a hand that
shapes the shadows confirming something more.
And birth begets our immortality.
Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 231.
Process notes: If you believe in God you have a concept, whether accurate or not, of who and what God is and what your relationship to God is. As a child I picked up the thought that babies came directly from heaven. I no longer believe that we have always existed but that each child is a new and unique being. And if the theology I have been taught is right then birth begets immortality. I do believe, as Wordsworth says, there are “clouds of glory” to be seen in nature, and though they obscure the whole picture, they do reveal a portion of what’s beyond.
Debi Swim writes primarily to prompts. She is a wife, mother, grandmother and happy WV poet.