Posted in poem, Poems/Poetry, poetry

New Mother, Turning to the Kora

20140104-184807When you still fit
my arms
like an instrument
beating rhythms
at my heart, you would, at times,
cry without cease,
without reason–without reason that I
could reason out–and I, almost without
reason myself, would play a music
of Kora and guitar
in which the strings,
sounding of bells,
plucked us from the closed-in walls
and wails,
lifted us
from the hard wood floor we walked, transported us
to some bigger brighter world where sun streamed
vibrationally, where leaves echoed, where
life strolled, where tears caught in scrunched cheeks seemed almost
ripples re-centering a well
on a day when one
craved water, a natural wrinkle
of wells and water.

Whirled shine glinted
upon our faces whether we looked
up or down, and even though, in that apartment,
metal gates shadowed the nearest windows;
we knew–even as an infant you could hear–
that the music held want as well
as tinkle, that knells mourn even as
they proclaim, that the lone also
still you at last would smile, me
too, as if both of us were tuned
by those stringed scales,
so gratefully tethered.

– Karin Gustafson

© 2014, original artwork, poem and portrait (below), Karin Gustafson, All rights reserved

Kora ~ a twenty-one string bridge-harp used extensively in West Africa

photo-46KARIN GUSTAFSON (Manicddaily) ~ a guest contributor to Bardo focuses (sometimes) on the interface between creativity and stress, with a side of little elephant drawings. She is a writer and illustrator, having published a collection of poetry, Going on Somewherea children’s counting book, 1 Mississippi ( for lovers of light, water. and pachyderms) and, most recently,Nose Divea light-hearted mystery novel about teenagers, Broadway musicals, love, noses, New York City.  (More information about the books may be found at and at Amazon.)  Since July 2009, Karin has been engaging visitors to her blog with her observations, poetry and artwork, especially her elephant sketches and cartoons. She is an active participant in d’Verse Poets Pub and a member of its d’Team.


The focus of "The BeZine," a publication of The Bardo Group Beguines, is on sacred space (common ground) as it is expressed through the arts. Our work covers a range of topics: spirituality, life, death, personal experience, culture, current events, history, art, and photography and film. We share work here that is representative of universal human values however differently they might be expressed in our varied religions and cultures. We feel that our art and our Internet-facilitated social connection offer a means to see one another in our simple humanity, as brothers and sisters, and not as “other.” This is a space where we hope you’ll delight in learning how much you have in common with “other” peoples. We hope that your visits here will help you to love (respect) not fear. For more see our Info/Mission Statement Page.

6 thoughts on “New Mother, Turning to the Kora

  1. Oh my goodness! What a delightful use of words. This is quite simply beautiful. I think that what I love most is that Karen has used these words (many of them) in manner in which I had not thought to use them. This is music and poetry become one.


  2. Karin, this is beyond wonderful. It brought me right in there with you.
    “a music of Kora and guitar in which the strings, sounding of bells, plucked us from the closed-in walls and wails…still you at last would smile, me too, as if both of us were tuned by those stringed scales”
    Luv, K


  3. What a wonderfully developed poem…the image of the child in arms to the musical instruments, the tears, the well and the commentary on “lone” harmonies tethered. This is very refined and seamless, even with the variety of images. An outstanding piece.
    Steve K.


  4. What a wonderful poem! It was so lyrical. You used the words to such a good effect here, and I could picture the scene(s) as I read. A lovely tribute to the child and mother team, bonded by music.


Kindly phrased comments welcome here.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.