Poem Project – entry #8 He Wishes For The Cloths of Heaven
He Wishes For The Cloths Of Heaven by William Butler Yeats
Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
In between my last poetry page and this one, I attended a mother-daughter retreat with my daughter. I spent some time reflecting on our relationship and how it has changed now that she is an adult, married, on her own. At the same time I was reading Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet. In his ninth letter I found words I wanted to share with my daughter: “It is always my wish that you might find enough patience within yourself to endure, and enough innocence to have faith. It is my wish that you might gain more and more trust in whatever is difficult for you, in your aloneness, among other things. Allow life to happen to you. Believe me, life is right in all cases.”
I wanted to do a poetry page commemorating my relationship with my daughter, my wishes for her future, a celebration of the love we share right now. This is a poem I found in a collection of poetry put together by Caroline Kennedy titled: The Best-Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. The poem was in a section of favorite poetry that Caroline collected from family members and this particular poem was submitted by her daughter, Tatiana. I was attracted to the poem because it beautifully describes the interactions of my daughter and I: each of us seeking to create “heaven” for each other. Brittany seems to have a need to please me, and being a mother, I am always seeking to smooth the wrinkles in her world.
Although, parts of this poem read like a conversation between us. One of my lines is: “I have spread my dreams under your feet.” (It is not that I have dreams I expect my daughter to fulfill, but I feel that my husband and I, and our whole family, have worked hard to allow our children to pursue dreams.)
And so I hear my daughter’s voice in the last line – and they are words spoken to the world: “Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.”
I sewed the turtle on there because of notes I’ve read about the Turtle as a totem. Examples from www.crystalinks.com/totemanimals.html Turtle: nurturer, protector, mother energy
Many Natives refer to North America as Turtle Island, because their legends say that when the earth was covered with water, Turtle dove to the bottom of the oceans bringing up earth on its back so that the people could have a safe and dry home. Turtle is at home anywhere because it carries its home on its back. It does not become attached to places, for it is free to search for new opportunities wherever they may be found. When they sense danger, or are in uncomfortable and insecure settings, they withdraw into their shell, and are protected. If you have Turtle medicine, you value both the power of the earth, the waters of the earth, and the magic of the heavens, for Turtle symbolizes both the grounding quality of earth energy, and the magic of the mystical. Using Turtle energy can help you achieve real balance in your life and your spirit so that you don’t get “stuck in the mud”. Turtle’s medicine includes a connection with the center, navigation skills, patience, self-boundaries, associated with the feminine, power to heal female diseases, respecting the boundaries of others, developing new ideas, psychically protecting oneself, self-reliance, tenacity, non-violent defense.