Valerie Dohren (13 January 1947 / Southport)
It was dark,
I was immersed in a fluid world,
so small within its depths.
Beyond the boundary, muffled sounds
soft and tender, could be heard.
Sighs, laughter, and I longed to see from where they came,
yearning for sight to penetrate opaque lids.
But all that could be seen were shadows -
shadows, like phantoms drifting through a sea of calm.
In the distance could be heard a hypnotic tick tick tick,
marking time it seemed -
my time, here, within.
But what of time:
was there a beginning, or an end?
Suspended in peaceful unknowing,
I was rocked, by the gentle sway of my world,
into a silent slumber.
All was well in this universe,
where quiet waves licked against unseen shores.
But there was a storm unfolding.
A turbulence began to envelop me;
I was surrounded with its torment
- undulating, seizing, pushing -
and I felt the first pangs of fear
pulsating through my being.
Then, bewildered and disgruntled,
I emerged from the darkness,
kicking and screaming -
into the light.
Can you remember your development from a single cell to your completion as a fully developed human being - no? , then join me on my imaginary journey to find out ……..
Part 1: Ovulation / Conception
I 'knew' nothing of my true beginnings - how could I, for I was a mystery, a mystery yet to be revealed. So where do I begin to tell the story of my existence. Many believe that my origin was set beyond this universe, in the wider cosmos which embraces all of creation, and that I was rooted in the stars, the stars being the source of the DNA that is at the very core of my being. I can now only speculate and consider that I had descended through the chaos generated at its inception, was then carried by the ether, and in the fullness of time, silently and in solitude, was laid in the cocoon in which I found myself. I was so very, very small - a microcosm within a larger world of which I was totally unaware.
My existence thus far had seemed so insignificant, and it felt as if I was in a state of suspended animation - waiting. I had been 'waiting' for such a very long time, it seemed, but I could not comprehend the reason for my waiting, if indeed there was a reason. But then, suddenly, and without warning, it happened - an explosion. It was an explosion which catapulted me out of my cocoon into what appeared to be the vastness of space, but which soon changed as it began to assume the likeness of a dark tunnel down which I was being propelled. Where I was going, I did not know. I had entered a new world, on another journey, but was unaware of my destination.
It was during this journey that something strange started to happen. I was not alone. There, in the darkness, I could sense a presence, a presence akin to a swirling mass, a flood or vortex which seemed to contain others like myself, yet not like myself. I was afraid, not knowing if they were benevolent beings or hostile entities, which were invading the new world in which I found myself. They 'swam' closer and closer until I was surrounded. My fear then became all-consuming, but it was temporary and would not last for long. At that moment, I started to tremble and then I felt myself spinning, round and round and round. I then realised that I was in the midst of this vortex, and it was the intruders who had initiated the spinning. It was not an unpleasant experience for it felt as though I was surrounded by soft feathers, feathers which were brushing past and around me, nudging me softly and tenderly, and almost lulling me into sleep.
Slowly, I was becoming transfixed during this 'assault' on my being, an 'assault' which I found to be extraordinarily gentle, and the fear that I had felt began to evaporate - I was floating, and slipping into a hypnotic slumber. But then, and suddenly, I was aroused from this impending sleep when I felt a piercing sensation. It was as if one of those 'feathers' had inserted its quill into my very core. I instinctively 'knew' that its purpose was to bring about change, and I was filled with trepidation. I 'knew' then that I was going to change into something much greater than that which I was, and something far greater than the sum of its parts. But I also 'knew' that such change was necessary, it was meant to happen, as the alternative would have been certain death.
The spinning continued following the 'piercing' of my being. Then came a strange feeling, a feeling that I was being torn apart. It was as if my entire self had been split asunder, and then split again, and again, and again. I wondered as to the purpose of this 'dividing, ' and what was happening to me. What was I becoming? I was indeed changing, but I did not understand.
Oddly, it also seemed that I was no longer the incomplete entity that I had always felt myself to be - I was not the solitary being I was before. I had become aware of a feeling of totality, of becoming whole, for until this time, I had always 'known' that a part of me was missing. This engendered an all-pervading sense of satisfaction and I 'knew, ' deep within, that somehow I was attaining the purpose of my existence and fulfilling the potential within me.
I knew nothing of my appearance following the many divisions of myself, but I imagined or sensed that I resembled a collection of tiny shimmering pearls, and that these pearls were bound together by love. I 'knew' about love from my cocoon days, and before when I was a part of a larger world, and through my connection with a cosmos far greater than myself, and which is the fount of all knowledge. Love is the binding force that holds everything together and repels anything which attempts to disturb its purpose. Consequently, I realised that whatever was happening to me was born out of love and therefore had to be a good thing.
Still travelling, moving down that long dark tunnel, eventually my journey came to a halt, and I felt the gentle undulations of a new environment enfolding me within its grasp. It was warm, so warm, and soft like a down-filled pillow, and my fears were allayed in this, my new home where I had become implanted, for it was beautiful. Time passed as I rested in my Garden of Eden, in my innocence - there was nothing to disturb my tranquillity here I thought, nothing. Suspended in peaceful unknowing, I was rocked, through a gentle swaying of my world, into a silent slumber. I began to sleep a sleep of deep contentment, unaware of what was to become of me.
Part 2: Development
It was dark - I was immersed in a fluid world, so small within its depths. I could sense that my environment was like an ocean in which I was suspended, but I was also aware of being tethered. I was still going through the process of division, but somehow this had become more tolerable now, more acceptable, almost natural it seemed. All was well in this universe, where quiet waves licked against unseen shores. On and on it continued for what seemed an eternity. It was a state of 'eternity' that had existed for me prior to my days in the cocoon, yet I did understand the concept of time, time as measured by the cosmos, the cosmos being my place of origin.
During this period, points of differentiation, such as a rounded mass which appeared to be located at the upper part of my being, started to develop. There was also a flexible rigidity that, I noted, gave added strength to my previously loosely bound-together self. I continued to grow, swelling and unfolding like a rose unfurling its petals. I 'knew' about flowers - this knowledge had always been within my unconscious 'knowing, ' that is to say, within that deep ocean of experience into which I had always been able to tap. I 'knew' that roses were beautiful, and therefore that I was also beautiful. I fell into sleep, contented.
I was awoken from my sleep by a gentle pulsation deep within my being, but which was only just perceptible. It resembled a steady beat, beat, beating sensation. Beset with wonder, and bemused by this further aspect of my changing, I pondered upon its significance. Somehow, I 'knew' it was essential for my continued survival, and therefore it was not something of which to be afraid. I was also aware of changes which had taken place both within and upon the rounded area to which I have already referred. Two small apertures developed, one on either side, together with two 'circles' which were side by side with a small raised area between them. There was also a fissure that I could pucker and stretch. I was confused and perplexed for I did not understand the significance of this - yet.
I also became aware that four tiny buds were forming, developing out of myself. They began to flicker and twitch - I 'knew' that they had a purpose, although I did not yet know what that purpose was. The buds continued to grow and become stronger - eventually I became able to move them of my own volition, though not with intent of course. I was stirred and excited by this 'quickening' and vivacity, which was so much beyond my understanding, but I comprehended that I was not inert, I was alive - I was alive and realising my potential.
In the course of time, further smaller protuberances started to appear on the tips of the buds already in place, twenty of them in total, five on each limb. There were times in my world when I felt some degree of discomfort or agitation, and I discovered that if I inserted one of these protuberances into the fissure of which I had become aware, this action would trigger the fissure to begin undulating around it. This instinctive behaviour proved to be very comforting and I knew it would bring to me a much desired feeling of solace in future times. I did not know why this should be, I just 'knew' that it was. It was an activity that would occupy me for a long time to come, such was the pleasure that it brought.
It was only in the fullness of time that I realised that the process I was experiencing had continued then for nearly three months - three long months, as counted by the sun and the moon. It seemed to me that my changing self was nearing completion - a new sense of wholeness embraced me, and I smiled by stretching the fissure - yes, I was able to smile, but I did not 'know' the reason for my smiling. I did not 'know' that, later, when it became purposeful, there would be a feeling called 'emotion' that would become the trigger for it to occur. I did not, at this time, 'know' about emotion, although something deep within my being told me that I had known about it a long, long time ago, and that it could be both distressing and beautiful.
As time progressed, I became further aware of a presence within the rounded area that constituted the upper part of myself. Although it was not palpable, I 'knew' of it existence because of an expanding consciousness which enabled me to sense things, things that I had not been able to sense previously. Beyond the boundary of my fluid world, muffled sounds, soft and tender, could be 'heard, ' such as sighs, laughter, and a soothing 'thump thump thumping' which brought me great comfort. I hoped this would continue indefinitely, indeed forever (what did 'forever' mean - I felt I should know, but I didn't. Was it the same as eternity?) .
I also heard music - I 'knew' about music from my time in the cosmos when it drifted through the universe as beautiful, stirring vibrations, and I recognised the strains of Beethoven, Bach, Sibelius etc, 'knowing' that I had met them before. I longed to 'see' from where these sounds came, yearning for such sight to penetrate the opaque lids covering the two small circles which were situated on the rounded area, as previously described. But all that could be seen were shadows - shadows, like phantoms drifting through a sea of calm. In the distance could also be heard a hypnotic tick, tick, tick, marking time it seemed - my time, here, within. But what of time, was there a beginning or an end? Although I had 'known' about the concept of eternity, it was gradually slipping away from my consciousness as my 'becoming' progressed and moved towards fulfilment.
There were occasions when a gentle pressure was exerted upon me from beyond my world - it was as if my existence needed to be verified and monitored by some source outside of myself. Could it be that I had assumed some degree of importance or value, and that love and care had entered into my world? Love was a concept I had always instinctively 'known' about, but until my changing, I felt I had never experienced it before, or at least it was not within my then memory-scale to recall. It was wonderful and beyond description, and I 'knew' that I was wanted.
Part 3: Birth
Over time, I began to feel my fluid-filled world closing in on me, becoming smaller. Moving became difficult, and I realised that it was myself who had grown so large, so large that I was filling the space that was my universe. I felt a compulsion to twist and turn myself so that I was facing downwards, but without knowing the reason for this other than that this was something I had to do.
Then a sense of apprehension and foreboding came over me, for there was a storm unfolding. A turbulence had begun to envelop me, and I was surrounded by its torment - undulating, seizing, pushing - and I felt the first pangs of fear pulsating through my being, and which felt like electricity surging through me. I also realised that my fluid world had dissolved around me - my protective environment had fallen away and I felt bereft of its soothing presence.
Outside of my world, I heard a great deal of disturbance - there were sounds I had not heard before, distressing sounds like groaning and shouting. And 'voices', so many voices. One of these voices I recognised, as I had heard it so often whilst within my protected world. It was sweet and gentle, and I 'knew' that it would be important to me for a very long time. The squeezing and pushing of my small being seemed to go on forever, until eventually, both bewildered and disgruntled, I emerged from the darkness in which I had been surrounded. Kicking and screaming, I entered into a world of light. The warmth and the comfort I had known thus far was gone, and the brightness that I encountered triggered an unpleasant but temporary sensation of disquiet and unease, although this was soon to be dispelled. I then heard a voice say 'Well done Mum, you've got a beautiful baby........, ' and the tether to which I had been connected was also released. I 'knew' then that I was a free individual, though not yet independent. I had become what I was always intended to be.
There was light all around me, but I could not see clearly. The opaque lids, which had been closed for so long, were reluctant to open. But soon, very soon the blurred sight began to clear a little. The vision I then encountered was beautiful beyond description, and which I 'knew' I would never forget. At the same time, I felt a warm enfoldment around my body - I was held and caressed by another environment. I wondered what the word 'Mum' meant, but I 'knew, ' deep inside, that it was a wonderful word and one that would stay with me for a very long time. I then felt droplets of warm fluid falling onto my 'face.' They seemed to flow from two dark pools which were fixed upon me, and the fissure, which lay beneath them, grew wider and wider, becoming closer, closer and closer, until it touched my face - I didn't know it then, but I was being kissed. I 'realised' that these features were those which were also set upon my own form, and that I had now become aware of some of their purpose.
It had been a long journey, but I had arrived at my destination both happy and content. The changing was now complete, and I was tired, so very tired, and all I wanted to do was sleep …….and forget. But the forgetting never came, as I remember to this day the process of my 'becoming, ' and I feel that, somehow, this was not meant to be.
But my 'becoming' was over, and I 'knew, ' not through words or conscious knowledge, rather instinctively, that I was the keeper of the greatest secret of all - the secret of life itself. I 'knew' also that it was part of my destiny to perpetuate this process, for I am a girl, and I carry within me the seeds of future humanity.
I also 'knew' that I had many other tasks to fulfil, things to learn, and a balance to redress following on from previous existences. And furthermore that, beyond a time-scale which is incomprehensible to mankind, I would return to my origins, to where I had always existed in a state of potentiality. I would once more reside amongst the stars, as part of the all-embracing cosmos, 'knowing' that the cycles of life will continue, for when it comes down to basics, we are all just a collection of atoms and molecules, and it has been said that ……
* 'Energy (Matter) cannot be created or destroyed,
it can only be changed from one form to another.'
(* Matter can be converted to Energy, or vice versa.
Einstein's Formula E=mc^2) .
Comments about this poem (Becoming (Story) by Valerie Dohren )
People who read Valerie Dohren also read
Top 500 Poems
The Road Not Taken
If You Forget Me
Still I Rise
Edgar Allan Poe
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
William Ernest Henley
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings