1 : Newborn Beach


When you were itsy bitsy
 growing inside of me
And you would sometimes
 toss and turn
You’d push and kick and shove
 inside tumultuously
I would take you with me
Together we would go
And sit close to the sea
Where I would breathe in salty air
And listen to the singing waves
Where we would both rest comfortably
Against a solid beach swept log
Where very soon
 tumultuous you
Would be calm and asleep
 at peace inside of me
While we both rested comfortably
Against a solid beach swept log
Close to the sea


Why I wrote Newborn Beach:


Even though this poem clearly refers to the time when I was pregnant with you, it wasn’t until two decades later that I wrote it. You had been away from home for a few years, and after graduating, you traveled abroad for a few more. All the while, not a single day went by when I didn’t think of you.

I spent many days sitting back at the beach remembering you as a baby and growing up as a child. We shared many happy times there, together and with family and friends. Simply being there brought back so many wonderful memories for me.

The day I wrote Newborn Beach, I was sitting in the sand at one of our favorite beaches.


How I wrote Newborn Beach:


When you were itsy bitsy
 growing inside of me
And you would sometimes

 toss and turn
You’d push and kick and shove

 inside tumultuously

The opening of the poem takes you directly to the time and place it relates to. I set my mind back to the time when I was pregnant and focused on a specific day very close to your birth. This was a moment in time when we were both quite agitated, and I have to admit, I’m still uncertain who calmed first, it was almost always simultaneous.

When I wrote these lines, I imagined how it might’ve been for you, yet to be born, and how you were likely gaining greater awareness of the world outside your comfortable warm inner circle. I imagined how you must have been eager and impatient to see all you were hearing, which might’ve been why it sometimes felt like you wanted to kick your way out of my belly.

The use of indents on every second line is to indicate a different tone and rhythm to the verse. Although I usually adopt a very steady rhythm when writing a poem, this one goes back and forth between quick spurts and slow soothing stretches – a reflection of the physical and emotional sensations that were taking place that day.


I would take you with me
Together we would go
And sit close to the sea

These three lines take on a slightly different rhythm and they take us to a completely different place – outside of my belly and onto the beach.

The first two lines might seem nonsensical since you hadn’t been born yet, therefore you obviously had to come with me wherever I’d go. I chose to phrase it this way when recalling how I felt increasing excitement as your due date grew closer, but a subtle silent sadness would occasionally slip in when I thought of how soon you would no longer be with me. I also recalled how I consciously started to prepare myself for that separation, and these three lines are a direct example of how I went about it – by imagining how it would be once you were outside of my belly and walking beside me rather than completely with me. Once I started doing this, I no longer felt that sadness, but instead I felt great anticipation and joy.

The third line in this small group of words takes us to the place that leads to the core of the poem – a soothing place, a calming place, a place where we both love to be – close to the sea.


More on how I wrote Newborn Beach:


Where I would breathe in salty air
And listen to the singing waves
Where we would both rest comfortably
Against a solid beach swept log

Now set at the beach, I describe how I would focus on nothing other than the freshness of the air and the soothing sound of water, which would always instantly soothe you.

The last line referring to the log was meant to emphasize solidity. Although this could easily be interpreted as a metaphor for a person, it wasn’t meant as such when I wrote it. I did, however, think of the log’s actual stature and composition and considered how, even after being cut down and swept by the sea, it remained as solid as when it stood and was always there for us to lean on.


Where very soon
 tumultuous you
Would be calm and asleep

 at peace inside of me

In addition to what I previously mentioned, the log was also meant to refer to that strength and resilience within myself which I became more aware of while pregnant with you.

With all that being said about the log, the soothing sound of ocean waves gently rolling in was really what calmed me, hence likely calmed you too. But on the very day I referred to when writing the poem, I fell into a deep comfortable sleep, and when I woke, I was lying on my side, facing the ocean with you calmly asleep in my belly in front of me, and my back was safely protected from the wind by the log behind me.


While we both rested comfortably
Against a solid beach swept log
Close to the sea

The repetitive mention of comfort found, the solid log, and the sea is intentional in the closing lines. Not only to emphasize how the most simple things and moments can bring great comfort, but to reiterate how frequently we found comfort there.


Drawing from the poem:


Although I drew the image years after writing the poem, I was sitting at the very same beach we were on that day before you were born while drawing it.

The drawing started with the log. I wanted the log to have a predominant presence to emphasize its solidity while simultaneously blending in. From there, undulating shapes carried my pencil in wavelike motions to shape an abstract outline representing myself, the pregnant mother leaning against the log as though becoming a part of it, just as you were a part of me.

The positioning of the unborn child came about unintentionally, but once it was there, I chose to continue with slight details rather than erasing it. The end result turned out better than I could have ever planned and made complete sense to me. Because even though the obvious place an unborn child should be is in the mother’s belly, the drawing indicates where you always are – close to my heart.

The two circular shapes above the waves are the sun and moon. This might be perceived as both being there at once, but it was rather to indicate how we both were there, at the beach, often in the daytime when the sun would shine, and often in the evening when the moon would rise.



Thank you for inspiring me to create Newborn Beach


Newborn Beach

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