what it is is beautiful {giveaway}

I'm thrilled today to introduce you to Sarah Dunning Park, although since she is poet-in-residence for a little media empire known as Simple Mom, you may already be thoroughly charmed by her lyrical take on aspects of motherhood both sacramental and mundane. Her first volume of poetry, What It Is Is Beautiful: Honest Poems for Mothers of Small Childrenhad its official release this month, but I was lucky enough to receive my own copy when Sarah and I met up at our alma mater last May.

Sarah and I traveled in similar circles in college, but she graduated early, and I never got to know her as well as I wanted. Reconnecting last year on Twitter and then again in person for an afternoon with her and her girls was a delicious treat and exactly what my heart needed.

Sarah's a good mama, not because she's perfect or put together but because she's honest and kind. She generously agreed to share a poem here as well as a copy of her new book with one reader. (Yay!) It's available for only $4.38 right now at Amazon, so you might as well pick up a few for gifts. Mother's Day is just around the corner, and these poems are a cup of cool water and a needed "me too" to harried mamas in search of a little peace amid the storm of parenting littles.

Keeping the Peace

I saw it out of the corner of my eye,
noticed its tall, silver form
long before naming it in my mind:
heron. It perched, utterly graceful and
still, on a fallen trunk that sloped down
into the creek we cross over every day.
Fog was rising from the water,
and I wished I could stop the car,
approach quietly with camera in hand,
and somehow arrest the moment—
then lift it, intact, to take with me
as an emblem for the day.
Instead I turned away
to face the road again,
letting the moment flick past
like the flipping of channels,
and swallowing my awareness
that we live in a world with—herons.
The children were slumped behind me,
only just lulled into a dubious harmony
that would no doubt be shattered
if we stopped, or if I called out
for them to notice this marvel,
already now behind us.
I envisioned
three heads swiveling,
eager to broaden their horizons
with the wonders of the natural world.
Then I pictured a careless elbow
clipping a seatmate on the chin,
and two sets of hands clawing
at the sibling with the prime view—
of this animal
who has had the good sense to freeze
as we go barreling past.
No, I decided
(and it felt ungenerous):
today I would choose to keep
this emblem of peace to myself,
not sharing it with them directly,
but thereby preserving
the absence of conflict in the backseat,
and the heron’s solitary breakfast,
and perhaps most important,
that rare jewel—peace of mind—
for me.
© 2012 Sarah Dunning Park

To enter to win a copy of What It Is Is Beautiful, leave a comment in the vein of mothering or poetry, and we'll pick a winner Sunday night at 11:59 PM.

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