Barnes on the miracle of birth

sample commonplace entry

Amid loud and frantic cries of affirmation and despair Robin was delivered. Shuddering in the double pains of birth and fury, cursing like a sailor, she rose up on her elbow in her bloody gown, looking about her in the bed as if she had lost something. “Oh, for Christ’s sake, for Christ’s sake!” she kept crying like a child who has walked into the commencement of a horror.

Djuna Barnes, Nightwood (New York: New Directions, 1937), 52.

Birth is extremely unpleasant in this book (except in Doctor O’Connor’s imagination…) Notable Barnes effects: the doublets (“loud and frantic”) and the role-reversals (the mother is “like a child”).