It was June 24, 2003, around five in the morning when it became clear that our daughter wanted to make her entrance into the world four weeks earlier than planned. She was the first of our two children and while a swirl of anxious anticipation, fear, and nervousness ricocheted around in my head, a song by R.E.M. called “Belong” struck the moment (R.E.M.’s CD Out Of Time was spinning in the CD player when we first started the car up to speed of to the hospital) in a way that will never be forgotten. My daughter is six now and loves singing along to the soaring word-less chorus when it comes up on my iPod in the car. Below is a poem that I just wrote about that morning with obvious references to the song. Further below is R.E.M.’s version in video form.

Northwest of Athens

A weekday morning

Southern raindrops fall

From the overcast

Gray calm, calm: sky

Onto our windshield

She collapsed the sea

Jumped the barricade

Leaving us to hold

Our breaths en route

As the rhythm of

The wipers and the

Song: Belong, whispered


Alternating fear

Compressed our chests

Wringing time from hope

Until she began

To breathe, to breathe in

And out and we knew

Grace: belong

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