The First Time


Photo Credit: lomalindahealth.org via Google Images

The first time that I witnessed birth,
saw the crowning of the head,
that shock of thick black hair,
heard the melded cries of mother
and her son, the pain and ecstasy
in resounding dissonance,
the joy and fear and victory
of shattered boundaries—
that first time I beheld the
mystery of newborn life
I shuddered in the face of Awe.

The first time that I prayed in silence
without words or thoughts and stood
like Moses by the burning bush
that would not be destroyed and
offered (to the One who is and was
and will be) all that I have been and
am and shall become without limit
that first time I embraced
the mystery of the divine
I shuddered in the face of God.

The first time that I tasted love,
sought urgently to touch and hold,
looked into eyes that knew
my secret sacred spaces,
longed to please before receiving
pleasure, lost track of time, luxuriated
in the scent of passion,
that first time I received the mystery
of you, of all we could become,
I shuddered in the face of Bliss.

The first time I attended death
and held an old man’s icy hand and
looked into his eyes that saw beyond
me, wiped a brow expressing
nuances of sorrow and of joy,
the scope of everything we can imagine,
that first time I received a dying breath
and closed those eyes
I shuddered in the face of the Unknown.

The last time that I said hello, goodbye
I shuddered in the face of Wonder.

Linked at dVerse for Fred’s First Prompt. Stop by and bid him welcome, post a poem and enjoy the company of amazing poets. If I’m slow at commenting or just click “Like,” it’s because I’m having to limit keyboard time due to “Poet’s Elbow.” Thanks for understanding. I will, however, read and sip the fruits of your creative efforts.

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41 thoughts on “The First Time

  1. Jamie Dedes says:

    A stiring collection of first experiences: profoundly touching and beautifully sculpted.

    Like

  2. sreeja says:

    How poetically you captured all those first moments…..so nice!

    Like

  3. vbholmes says:

    Beautifully written microcosm of life.

    Like

  4. clawfish says:

    This filled with an all prevailing awe and i love it

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  5. kelly says:

    So much life here, maintaining that sense of wonder is the key for me. Lovely write!

    Like

  6. Kavita says:

    It made me go back in time… piece together a few patches of memories which I had conveniently left apart…
    It made me recollect moments.. of joy, pain, exhilaration…
    But most of all, it made me AWARE!

    An amazing poem, Victoria..

    Like

  7. Neat idea–to write about “firsts.” In Buddhism, we are reminded to see the world with a child’s eye, which is to say with that wonder and curiosity as if we are seeing it for the first time. Your poem reminds me to do that–it’s a reminder I constantly need!

    Like

  8. Aya Wilson says:

    vivid imagery, you have collected all kinds of events and pinned them in one single picture,
    masterful delivery.

    Like

  9. Sabio Lantz says:

    shuddering in the face of Awe — some give it a name, others can keep it raw and unclothed. Great lines. Made me remember the first birth I saw — and she was a complete stranger — I could not sleep for hours and hours.

    Like

  10. Your poem touches all the momentous firsts…made me shudder in the face of awe as well remembering mine

    Like

  11. poemsofhateandhope says:

    Vivid and heartfelt….and also feelings I can’t imagine but CAN imagine them being that powerful…I don’t have any kids (yet!)….and if I do…I’m sure the feelings will be as overwhelming as they are here…beautiful poem

    Like

  12. kkkkaty says:

    I agree that it is a gift….something everyone should read…nice approach

    Like

  13. souldipper says:

    Like one of my spiritual directors used to do – you speak for my soul, the words that have not realized they could speak.

    Like

  14. dani says:

    i think this is one of my favorites of your poems, Victoria ~ beautiful and awe-filled and stunning with each verse’s ending line. i hope your elbow is better soon!

    Like

  15. Ravenblack says:

    I like how it gives the reader a taste of these moments and expresses the wonder and awe that comes from these experiences. 🙂

    Like

  16. Wow… this is just brilliant. You captured all of the moments in life so tenderly…a wonderful poem.

    Like

  17. Very emotive. Great write Victoria!

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  18. Awe and wonder – the pepper and salt on the blandness of daily life.

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  19. Victoria, you have written here the definitive poem about all the First’s……..wow. I so loved reading this. You have said it all.

    Like

  20. Serena says:

    Such awe, inspiration, appreciation… the circle of life. And very well written. I enjoyed this very much.

    Like

  21. siggiofmaine says:

    This is so inspiring and wonderful…I can’t even think of the right words…awesome seems not enough…..Thanks for sharing.
    Peace and love
    Siggi in Downeast Maine

    Like

  22. ManicDdaily says:

    HI Victoria – yes, you’ve combined a lot of firsts here. I thought of writing of first child also; it is certainly pretty shattering in terms of one’s understanding of the important–and death and love too, and as you say, the simple hello/goodbye. So sorry you are not feeling well. k.

    Like

  23. jmgoyder says:

    This is so beautiful.

    Like

  24. Glenn Buttkus says:

    This is a stunning huge poetic read. BIRTH, PRAYER, LOVE & DEATH is like the title of a Woody Allen film, and the piece touches all of them so wonderfully. Liked the lines /the first time I received a dying breath/ thanks.

    Like

  25. Susan says:

    I quaked a bit before the end line of each stanza and felt you read my mind in shuddering. You have taken the most moving firsts: birth, prayer, love, and death, and tuched me with them, showing at the same time with the hello and goodbye–I think–that each time is a first time. These do not jade, they are the essence.

    Like

  26. This is absolutely stunning. The best poem I’ve read in such a long time. Life from the first breath until the last is truly a miracle, a gift from and of the divine that we are give to do with and make of, as we wish.
    Victoria, this truly is an awesome poem,.

    Like

  27. Poet Laundry says:

    I felt the awe, the mystery, the solemnity, and the sacredness throughout this masterful piece. I think you nailed so much with this one Victoria, has to be one of your best to me.

    Like

  28. Mary says:

    Oh, Victoria, your poem is wonderful in the way that it addresses birth, death, and love….all significant firsts in different ways. Makes me realize life holds many ‘firsts’ and ‘lasts’ if we only pay attention.

    Like

  29. hedgewitch says:

    The whole poem is a gift, Victoria, but especially the last lines for me, of life and all its possibilities, of all the first times that wait, and all the last that pass away. Hope you feel better soon.

    Like

  30. Hello and goodbye have first and last times so each should be the time of awe

    Like

  31. I love the first times here ~ In face of Awe, God, bliss and Unknown ~ Lovely share ~

    Like

  32. So much of life and sacred space that you have created here–just gorgeous

    Like

  33. I really love the celebration and strong feeling in this poem, Victoria– my favorite of yours. xxxj

    Like

  34. vivinfrance says:

    This is one of the most beautiful poems I have read in a long time. I considered writing about the birth of my first child for this prompt, but am still havering. Maybe tomorrow!

    Like

  35. hobgoblin2011 says:

    Never had the opportunity to experience birth yet, well, except for my own, but somehow can’t recall the details of that day lol Really emotional charged here, and how you had the contrast of birth, in death, as a poem, it balances perfectly. Great write.
    http://poeticalpsyche.blogspot.com/2012/09/first-time-i-heard-cowboys-from-hell.html

    Like

  36. brian miller says:

    wow you took in the encompass of life in this one…the first time i saw a birth it was on a video…at school no less….walked in the door just as the crown happened and i about passed out….about did the same at the birth of my first son but that was because of the relief after all the complications….death, oy, that one is def stilling….pretty cool trip today victoria…

    Like

  37. claudia says:

    moments of awe that never leave us untouched and make us see beyond the visible as well..love this victoria..so overwhelming…

    Like

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