From the Ground Up by Sara Wright

As a 76 year old feminist who lives alone (except for animals) I have been struck by some recent experiences I have had with kind men, men that I would call “Mothers’ sons”. Overall, throughout my life I have had negative experiences with males beginning, of course, with my own father, which is why I eventually made the choice about 30 years ago to live alone.

 These Mothers’ sons seem to have little or no interest in power or control but appear to live by another code, one that is not predicated on domination. As this prose poem indicates one such man is replacing the rotting timbers in my house, a difficult and labor – intensive job for one person. He is working alone, not out of choice, but because he cannot find one person who isn’t busy building million dollar houses for outrageous sums of money that are sprouting up like weeds in Western Maine. I have been looking for someone to do the work for five long years without success, and with a growing sense of desperation. Because it is men like these that we need to help restructure our toxic culture my burning question for the readers of FAR is how do we help create and support men like this one?

 I also have a friend who happens to be a bear. I have known this animal for three years; thus far he has managed to escape the fall bear slaughter. I believed that the bear was female.  (although both are shy, in my experience female bears are usually more accessible). This spring it became clear that Coal was a male as he carefully sucked up the birdseed from my feeder with his tongue. This bear is so gracious that he allows me to get within about six feet of him before he becomes nervous and frightened. I talk to him as I immediately back away because I don’t want him to run from me. I see a direct correlation between this male bear and the man who is working here. Both appear to understand on a visceral level what it means to be male.

From the Ground Up.
When he
filled in the hole
bare dirt
turned gold.
Nine months
gestating,
the Void had
claimed me
as her own.
Wild apple tree,
so thirst and
mineral driven
mourned.
I couldn’t
envision rebirth.

He came
and worked.

The day he
bade me
enter –
to descend –
to witness –
subterranean
depths
I remembered…
 Crawl space
 past horrors
years in becoming
rotting timbers
split in two
 like matchsticks
water dripping from pipes
 decaying wood,
 blackened fungi,
weeping concrete.

Death and decay
 thrived here.

Five years of
broken builder promises
 before
 the cabin collapsed
under my feet.
No one would
help until
He stepped in,
a gallon of bleach
in his hand.
A promise of
Redemption.

Now I gasp.

So this is
 transformation.
I breathe.
Light penetrates.
From the south
sweetened air,
 pungent scent
 of newly milled wood.
Every visceral
 sense exalting –
I am thrown into
Prayer and
the miracle
of Becoming.

Engineered
by one kind man
who never signed
up for this job
alone. When
 others
fell away
with their own
concerns,
instead of abandoning
me and
 crumbling timbers
he stayed.

Day
after day he
rarely complains
though his
exhaustion is evident.
He is not too proud
to ask for help
even when
no one is listening
but me –

He comes
when he can,
and that is enough.
I worry.
Rest, I tell him
when he leaves
wondering if
my words
have meaning
for one like him.
“I work every day,”
says this humble,
compassionate man –
a fact I know
to be true.

On his way out
I thank him quietly.
(He tells me
I’m too intense.
I mean well
he says, but
come on too strong
I am ashamed to be me).
So like the Bear
I send him
my Heart in Silence.
It is all
I have to offer
besides
Gratitude
for giving
 collapsing floors
 supporting new feet,
and a wildflower
 elder berry
cedar bark woman
another chance
to stay around.

From the Ground Up.

Bio

Sara is a naturalist, ethologist (a person who studies animals in their natural habitats) (former) Jungian Pattern Analyst, and a writer. She publishes her work regularly in a number of different venues and is presently living in Maine.



Categories: Nature, Relationality, Women's Voices

Tags: , ,

9 replies

  1. Sara, wonderful poem. Thank you for sharing. And to those of us who are ‘too intense’ (too honest). Be joyFilled with that. It is often a challenging way to go through the world, but I would choose no other. I, too, have been barraged lately with stories of toxic masculinity: men who are emotionally and physically abusive, bullies, tyrants, insensitive and domineering. But I too have seen these men among the younger generation who have escaped these clutches. They are the Hope and the Future for masculinity.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Good point – too intense and too honest go together – thank you for showing me that – too intense is really problematic for so many reasons – challenging may be an understatement. – and this man isn’t young – he’s in his early sixties – so this working alone is so hard. But he’s doing it…. and I do agree our hope is with the 20 plus year olds as a general rule – some do seem to get it that this power structure is so toxic – the question becomes how can they survive it without becoming a part of it?

    Like

  3. Love the two Mother’s sons. Especially the photo of the bear. You’re lucky to have two such fine friends. I’m fortunate, too, in that I have a number of good friends in the gay community here in Long Beach. I call them my gay boyfriends. When I need help, these are the guys I turn to. May all women have compassionate male friends!

    As usual, an interesting poem about highly significant topics. Yes, let’s all escape from toxic masculinity. Tame those guys! Bright blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love those two too! Yes, I have one young friend in the gay community that I can really talk to – what a relief! no surprise that he’s a professional photographer!
      Oh I have a prayer like that too – may all women find compassionate male friends. Thanks!

      Like

  4. thank you for sharing your positive experience with two males. as a gay fae elder in the tribe i also have come in contact with some males who are honoring the goddess within by their practice and who dance in joy with the crones(although in another grove) at all rituals. yes we are out there and just ask any “straight” man we are REALLY OUT THERE. everywhere. open-hearted. waiting for inclusion into the greater mysteries. namaste brooks(aka croney)

    Like

  5. Thank you for this poem and celebration of healthy maleness. It takes a certain kind of person to be able to handle intensity, and I guess maybe that’s why we appreciate each other. Bears are amazing, and I hope and pray he is safe and well, and that you are, too. <3

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You immediately made me think of two men who I value so much. thank you.

    And my brother, who, despite what he has been through, continues to hold me in his heart and do whatever he can for me. What a blessed mother’s son he is.

    Liked by 1 person

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