On Friday, we invoke the muse of motherhood to shine her light of inspiration upon us.
Whether or not you know this beloved story about the Hindu god Krishna, I think you will love this retelling, from the view of the boy-god’s mother Yoshoda by my friend, and talented children’s book author, Amy Novesky. Amy and I have wanted to publish this as a children’s picture book (I would paint the illustrations.) Perhaps one day. Thank you for allowing me to share this today, Amy!
In You I See Me
Copyright © 2012 by Amy Novesky
You have always been a mischievous little boy.
When you are near,
Cakes I’ve labored all day to make disappear.
Milk is all gone and the cream goes missing.
Pots of butter are broken, sweets stolen.
(Stolen sweets taste even sweeter, I know.)
You give food to the monkeys.
You tease the cows, grabbing hold of their tails,
and you pee on trees.
Happiness, for you, is splashing in wonderful puddles of mud.
All the mothers just shake their heads.
A band of boys follows you everywhere.
And the girls – they pretend to loathe you, but secretly they love you.
You steal their clothes when they are bathing
but you always leave them little gifts.
Today, little Madhubala tugs on the end of my dress to tell me you are playing in the dirt again.
This is nothing new, I say, handing her a sweet ball for her trouble.
“No, Ma, he is eating it, too.”
Adore you, I do. But even the gods need to be scolded.
I find you in the field, triumphant. Your brilliant blue skin dulled with dust.
Boys scatter like bees when they see me making my way toward you.
Now you’re gonna get it, they chant.
I grab you by the hand and pull you from your play. Your eyes flash, deep dark pools in your earthened face.
“Is it true you’ve been eating dirt?”
You shake your head no.
“Open your mouth.”
A little smile lights your eyes, which only makes me more mad.
When I demand again you open your mouth, you do.
A son opens his mouth to his mother, and she looks in. What does she see?
At first I do not see anything, it is so dark. But I look more closely.
I see dirt. That’s it.
But then the dirt becomes the dark earth, a road
and I follow.
I see fields and forests, mountains.
I see the continent and a jewel-shaped island dangling like an earring.
I see continents and I see islands. Sea I see.
I see the sky and I see the stars.
I am flying.
I see the earth and the moon.
Comets and pink planets.
The milky way.
I see dark fabric stitched with spiraling galaxies,
the entire universe laid out like a vast sparkling quilt.
I see all of space and time.
The mind and matter.
Us, the very stuff of stars,
and I am filled with wonder.
And then I see a green square of field.
A garlanded cow.
A woman looking into a little boy’s mouth.
“Did you find what you were looking for?” he asks when she’s done.
The woman wets the end of her dress in her mouth and wipes the boy’s dirty face clean.
She smiles and nods yes.
In You I See Me is based on a beloved story of the Hindu god Krishna as a young boy and his mother Yashoda, who one day looked into her mischievous son’s mouth expecting to find dirt and seeing, instead, the entire universe. What I love about this story is that while it is about a blue-skinned god and originates half a world away, it is universal in its themes of childhood, motherhood, and life, itself. We each carry the world within us. What could be more beautiful than that?