Mother's Day and Julia Copus' Ghost Lines

I'm a bit ambivalent about having 'days' for particular people or things. But 'Mother's Day' has such a long history - back to the Virgin Mary, and before that to the pagan mother goddesses we worshipped millenia ago.  Even nature, the earth, was seen as a woman.  Maybe to do with the mysterious processes of giving birth - it seemed such a miracle, and women risked their own lives in the process of giving life to a new human being.  It also seems an appropriate day to remember those who long to have a child, yet can't.  There's a moving series of poems by Julia Copus about the gruelling process of IVF, and its failure, called Ghost Lines, which was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in December 2011.    Although the programme doesn't seem to be available for re-viewing at the moment, there's a trailer clip from the Fiction Factory Ghost Lines is short-listed for the prestigious  Ted Hughes prize for new work in poetry and is also in the current issue of Poetry London. 

I particularly loved 'Inkling'  which begins

Last night I sensed a taking root
under the bonecage of my heart,
a stirring, shifting;  something not
quite of a breath or heartbeat's weight.

It was the inkling of a soul.
Now I shall have no peace at all
till he's caught and fastened, nested in
the cradle of my pelvic bone......

These poems are very, very special and I'm looking forward to reading them again in her next collection The World's Two Smallest Humans, due from Faber in  July 2012.

Also remembering my own lovely mother today.  I'm grown up enough to stand on my own two feet now, with grown up daughters of my own, but I still miss her.  This photo is of her as a girl and I'm amazed how Italian she looks!  - all those maternal relatives in Genoa, whose names I would love to know.


  1. What a beautiful image. I love the placing of the hands. And yes - she does look Italian. No wonder you feel at home there.
    I miss my mother too who would have been a hundred years old.
    I loved the poem - intricate. A lot for me to learn there.


  2. I love the photo of your mum!

    I am still blessed to have my mum around, I can't imagine being without her.


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