Sofia (anaphoric poem for a young soul)
Sofia’s sisters will write their symphonies
for the world in their world
Sofia’s song lies within, beautiful, sonorous,
hard to explain, yet unfailingly lovely…
filled with illusions and wonder
Sofia’s favorite pastime is looking in the mirror
God gazes back at her, through her eyes and
in her infectious smile; a face that is
a reflection of the face of God
Sofia’s sisters will have a different kind of freedom
Roaming the world, seeking their separate destinies
But she is the lucky one
Destiny has found her and
God holds her in strong arms
Sofia, your every breath is counted
and you will never be alone
Your name means wisdom and, though hidden,
it is real, a labyrinth that dwells deep and swells wide.
Sofia. Your witness is simply being; your song is of the soul.
© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
I had written this poem for Sofia, the daughter of my friends Daniel and Joy, during a visit to San Antonio years ago, but it never saw the light of day until this blessed move to our new home next to our church. My posting will be sporadic, but I’ll read more than I post for a few days on breaks from unpacking. This is at dverse, Poets United, and the garden I have sorely missed, Imaginary Garden With Real Toads.
dverse asked for Anaphoric poems, which have repeated words or sounds. I decided to use the name which became a song for playtime: Sofia.
When we were visiting, Sofia, who had a difficult delivery and will never function in “our ways” past a young age, delighted when I played with her. The song was “So-FIIIIII-aaaaa…” followed by long, silly phrases:
So-FIIII-aaaaa sits on the floor and plays with her box of stuff
So-FIIII-aaaaa picks up the box and dumps all the stuff on the floor
(dump and giggle)
On and on through picking up plastic horses and puzzle pieces to dumping it out again. Hers is a pure existence, and the reason she has a happy life lies with her family. Danny and Joy are parents who, when faced with the birth of a child who would never learn to read or write, refused to lock her away. Her sisters, Veronica, Eva, and Carmen, love her for who she is, and Sofia is safe from caring when they pass her milestones; they are all equally loved by their parents and their larger family as individuals. This is a family of deep faith and a strong sense that they have been blessed by God with Sofia. My heart this day is with Daniel and Joy, with their able girls, and with that specially abled young woman, Sofia. Paz, y con mucho amor, Amy
OCD (Overwhelming Crucial Demands)
Rituals ruled his life
Tapping the front window four times when passing
Adjusting his chair twice after sitting down
Most noticeable at table, where his mother
would fret over her son’s obsession
Each bit chewed exactly 18 times
and finishing first the meat, then potatoes, and finally
vegetables – no portion touching the next
as his dish was divided into three compartments
Followed by a milk in his blue glass
swallowed in five long, perfectly even gulps
Napkin folded into a perfect triangle threading it through
a silver ring placed just so on the table
Brooks arranged first by genre, then by author,
then by color – spines aligned in precise rows
He measure boundaries for his daily routine;
I understand the gravity of crack avoided
One thousand, two hundred and eighty-nine
steps to the psychiatrist’s office downtown.
Unfortunately, he never opened the door,
lacking a Kleenex to ward off germs
© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
For Sunday Scribblings, “I Understand” was the prompt. Yeah, ya think?
Kids are cruel, and peers pick out students like this boy to bully, an easy target. While OCD is a minor part of my chemical imbalance, it loomed large when I was younger. One example: If I misspelled a word in English class, I first was compelled to complete writing it in full, and then, with a calm sweep, I would erase the entire word… but finishing it was critical. There were fingerprints by the exit to our bedroom from my habitual taps, and grazing a fence with a stick, if I missed a picket, it meant going back and starting the whole fence again. I get this kid because I was this kid, but the symptoms abated when manic depression started to take over. One pain in the ass replaced by another is small comfort.
Notice these traits and show understanding to the “different ones,” those who may not be diagnosed but whose disorders are easily recognizable. Good example, if you see a “twirler” who eventually singles out one hair to pluck, be aware. It’s called trichotillomania and can be managed NOT by drugs, but by behavior modification.
Peace and health – physical and mental, Amy