Gorilla Back. ~ Monica Clark {Poem}

Via Monica Clark
on Aug 1, 2013
get elephant's newsletter

Gorilla and baby

I remember seeing a photo on the internet of a gorilla who had just given birth.

The baby gorilla did not survive and the mother carried her dead baby on her back for days; the duality of seeing unconditional love and tragedy in the photo inspired this poem.

Gorilla Back

A Gorilla bleeds
From her birth canal,
And at the same time
she hefts her dead offspring
up onto her shoulders.
And dead baby gorilla embraces
Her love.
So that everyone knows,
The weight is not too heavy.

Well, there is this bond,
Between mother and child,
even though a child dies.
We carry them, always.
We carry them on our backs,
In our hearts.

Dead or alive.

In the mysterious dawn
the gorilla and I are kin.
We talk softly of lost children.
We soothe the grief,
With poignant memories
that  are glorious and lonely.
We lie together; me, gorilla and cat,
our eyes pinched shut
and remember, remember,
long eyelashes, pouty mouths
and flawless skin.

I see their miniature fist
with each knuckle’s outline
tracing a path
Down the inside of my belly.
From my throat, next my chest,
Down to my soft belly
And back again.

In flannel pajamas and homemade blankets,
tucked in tight.
They were never cold.
And never hungered,
feeding on memories and love.
They grew up fast,
Crying over braids and CD’s and soccer balls
Buried in a grave.

And the days spill along,
They come sunny and mild
or cold and wet.
Or on gusts of wind that shake the barn’s metal roof.

Me, cat and the Gorilla know this;
When Love comes along for a stay,
She comes on her own, all her idea.
And she’s welcome when she comes.

She comes on cat’s paws.
On Internet photos of Gorillas.
On flannel pajamas and homemade blankets.
On memories of flawless skin, tiny fists,
long eyelashes and pouty mouths.
She comes invited when she comes.
And Stays.

Like The Mindful Life on Facebook

Assistant Ed: Dana Gornall/Ed: Bryonie Wise

Gorilla Photo credit:Pinterest




About Monica Clark

Monica Clark is a novice herbalist and is finishing up a graduate degree at the ripe age of 53. Her research centers around fresh food access and low income and/or ethnic populations. She helps build gardens in communities that really benefit from the miracle of growing food, herbs and flowers. Her business is named after her son Ezra, the boy in the poem. She makes herbal skin care products, lives in a motor home with her cat Pamela and her dog Rex Rocket. You can learn more at her website.


One Response to “Gorilla Back. ~ Monica Clark {Poem}”

  1. Monica Clark says:

    The link below shows an image of a momma gorilla who refused to let go of her baby who died. It's a compelling image, that conjures up thoughts of loss and letting go, but not letting go at the same time. I love this image and I am exploring "why" I do when I write.
    We don't need to let go of our loved ones who die unexpectedly…Gorillas model that. Humans say, "Process your grief and move on." Gorillas say, "You are with me always, and it's not too much to carry you."
    I think that we can be surrounded by love* if we let love embrace us in our sadness as well as our joy*. I like to write about the duality of those twin/sibling/counterpart emotions. This image is an example of love and sadness resting side by side.