hardens I press with horrible joy down
my back cracks like a wrist
shame I am voiding oh behind it is too late
hide me forever I work thrust I must free
now I all muscles & bones concentrate
what is living from dying?
—from John Berryman’s “Homage to Mistress Bradstreet”
This sentence is part of a longer passage that I quote in the epigraph to my unpublished novel, Nine Months, because I think it so wonderfully captures the intensity, beauty, rhythm and horror that is the miracle called childbirth.
5 thoughts on “A Sentence About a Sentence I Love, by Paula Bomer”
nice! it’s good to see someone use a sentence out of a poem :)
My compliments, & more. Berryman is an essential touchstone for me, a sensibility that finds the ecstasy in every ache.
Thanks, Ryan and John. Berryman moves me so. And because of him, I discovered Anne Bradstreet’s work.
“shame I am voiding” seems like a wonderfully empathetic touch.