I ... entered the poem of life, whose purpose is ... simply to witness the beauties of the world,
to discover the many forms that love can take. (Barabara Blackman in 'Glass After Glass')

These poems are works in progress and may be updated without notice. Nevertheless copyright applies to all writings here and all photos (which are either my own or used with permission). Thank you for your comments. I read and appreciate them all, and reply here to specific points that seem to need it — or as I have the leisure. Otherwise I reciprocate by reading and commenting on your blog posts as much as possible.

20 April 2015

Remembrance

I remember my mother
on her deathbed,
almost mute

until a nurse came in
and said cheerily, 'Isn't it nice
that your daughter's here?'

(I'd flown a long way
to be with her
that final day.)

'What's your daughter's name?'
she asked, and after Mum forced out 
the answer in a strangled gasp,

'Was it a family name
or did you call her that
just because you liked it?'

I remember my mother's voice
going deep, as it did when she tried
to enunciate very clearly,

and with an obvious summoning
of strength and will and breath, she said,
syllable by syllable, 'I liked it!'

I remembered the fuller tale I'd heard
of an actress with the pretty name,
and Mum deciding then:

'That's the one, if I'm having a girl.'
I don't think God
would have dared disappoint her.

I remember being told often
how much she wanted
'a little fair girl', and the tale

of her first words to my father
after I was born, 'Oh, Rob'
(tearful with joy) 'It's a girl!'

Some children hate their names.
I always liked mine, even when
everyone called me Rose or Rosie.

I remember how pleased
my mother was, when Bill,
my second husband, said,

'She has a beautiful name.
People should use it' and insisted
no-one ever shorten it again.

Later the famous clairvoyant
told me, 'Never let anyone
shorten your name to Rose.

'That is soft; it will weaken you.
You need the Mary for strength.'
It was already done. I thanked Bill again.

I remember the children at school:
'You're a plant, you're a plant!'
But I didn't mind; I was proud of it.

I like what Shakespeare said,
through Ophelia: '... Rosemary,
that's for remembrance.'

I like being named for a herb
with a unique sharp-sweet scent.
I like to keep some growing.


Prompt 20 for 'Poems in April' at 'imaginary garden with real toads' is to explore the meaning of one's name.

22 comments:

  1. It IS a beautiful name! What a story.

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  2. Lovely poem about your name. You let us see so many touching moments that involve your name's meaning. I really liked this.

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  3. I was in awe seeing the variety you've attached to your name story from birth, growing up, youth & graceful aging...also loved that bit of mysticism and the touch of the Bard of Avon...what a wonderful read!!

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  4. This is such a touching poem... so heart-warming.. :D
    Beautiful imagery... :D
    Glad to know the meaning of your name!
    Lots of love,
    Sanaa

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  5. And what a lovely story as to how you came by your name. I never did work out why I was blessed with mine. But unlike you, I like to be a Penny or a Pen, as a change from the full blown Penelope. People tend to opt for that when they want to tell me off! LOL

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  6. I so enjoyed reading this, Rosemary. Beautiful memories.

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  7. A sweet and moving story--it's a great name. k.

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  8. I like it too. Rosemary. From your mother's lips, especially.

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  9. oh rosemary is such a nice herb am sure you add a lovely quality to all you met

    much love...

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  10. I have to ask...was it Romy Schnieder you were named after? That's the Rosemary that gave me my name, though my parents perferred Romy and added an extra "m" in a fit of whimsy.

    There's a lot of love in this poem, beauty found even in the sadness of living, and resilience. Really lovely stuff.

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    1. No, 'fraid not (smile). I never knew Romy S was really a Rosemary; fancy that! Mum and Dad were always keen supporters of local amateur theatre, and I was named after some young actress they once saw, who never rose to greater fame and didn't even last long as an amateur. Mum never could recall her last name.

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  11. Both your poem and name are very beautiful. My mother named my younger sister Rosemary Christina :D but now she shortened it to R.C. Go figure!

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  12. This is more than I had know about the name, 'Rosemary'. Thank you. Mrs. Jim's father named her after Arlene Francis.
    ..

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  13. Ah, one of my favorite names and one of my favorites I've read today.

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  14. I love your name and the story of how it came to be. I can't see you as simply Rose. :)

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  15. This made me cry, Rosemary!! So beautiful...such a lovely story every word especially that she 'liked it!' Very moving...thank you!

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  16. and that is how Rosemary came to be..a lovely name..

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  17. I love this, Rosemary. I really do.

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  18. I also agree that your name should never be shortened! Such a happy poem about the gift of a name.

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  19. This is a wonderful poem with special memories of your mom.

    A spice man used to grind rosemary for us to sprinkle on all of Dad's food because he had Alzheimer's. He said they had used it for hundreds of years to help your memory. It was a gift so he wasn't selling me a story.

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  20. wonderful story, and one of my favorite herbs, too ~

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