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.

8 May 2016

Late Mother

After Eliot

Here you are again, little Mother, whom I have let
past my barriers again. Just now I see us
that last time in your house. You wanted me to go
taking the image of you dressed up and looking pretty. Sadly, then
it is followed by a different view of you
months later in the nursing home, mewling and
haggard. Summoned from far, by my cousin, I
struggled to come to terms. At the last, when
you sat up and glared past me at that sight invisible to me – the
vision – then flopped back down, dead … at that point the evening
went suddenly quiet and still. Ah well. What is, is.
Since that axe of a moment, nearly twenty years have spread
my life and some other deaths around me. I keep out,
nearly always, the memories; our differences, our troubled love. Against
this day, though, my defences buckle. It's Mother's Day – the
day on which to remember. 'Yes, you look pretty,' I think at the sky.













White chrysanthemum by Satdeep Gill licensed under Creative Commons  
(A symbol of Mother's Day, which in Australia falls on the first Sunday in May)


De at dVerse recently invited us to try the Golden Shovel, in which a line of poetry provides end words for one's own lines. I've always been captivated by the two opening lines of Prufrock; here I've used both. However I didn't write a poem in time to link to the dVerse prompt. The combination of Mother's Day – in which I refrain from joining the facebook adulations – and Brendan's Mini-Challenge: Harrows and Hallows at 'imaginary garden with real toads' gave me my subject matter. I'm also linking the poem to Poets United's Poetry Pantry #301.

27 comments:

  1. Ah. Beautiful close especially, Rosemary, and provoking much sympathy and compassion. Thanks. k.

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  2. So lovely Rosemary. 'Let us go then you and I'...so beautifully slips round your sensitive ideas...

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  3. Much enjoyed this bittersweet memory shared.

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  4. some moments tear us up and we bleed forever...love the close, beautiful Rosemary..

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  5. Like Sumana said, there are bits of life that keep on eating at us way after they have been lived. Thank goodness for the sky. ♥

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  6. So beautyful and sad at the same time. We do have to remember our loved one at their best not as they become. I visited my mother during the weekend, and she has turned so bad now... So I know it will turn worse.

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  7. This is a tight, powerful charm, the deep cold sweet odor of a Mother's Day flower. You packed in so much here -- the drama of mother and daughter, the difficulty of letting go and the long hard road to acceptance, the lessons of death and the surprises of life ("'Yes, you look pretty,' I think at the sky.'" Powerful contribution, friend.

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  8. As time goes on I think we have to make peace with our mothers AND our memories. After 20 years there is no harm in remembering simply 'Yes, you look pretty.' As Bjorn said, sometimes it is better to remember people at their best not as they become. After all, perhaps we will hope people will regard us this way some future time.....

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  9. One of your best Rosemary--and the last lines in particular, but all is a skillful whole that shines a light into both self and (M)other.

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  10. Powerful tribute, Rosemary. Testament of true love - our mother will always be a part of us. Hope you can listen to song "Heaven" by Moonpools and Caterpillars.

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  11. Always a day to remember the mothers that went before us. Nothing quite prepares one for the endless sense of loss.

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  12. Happy mothers day Rosemary. I'm happy you dropped in at my Sunday Lime today

    Much love...

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  13. This is soo beautiful Rosemary, words can't describe just how touched I am after reading your poem. Such a remarkable tribute.

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  14. Wonderful tribute to the one and only person in one's life above everyone else. Well done Rosemary!

    Hank

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  15. Happy Mother's Day! Your poem is delightful!

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  16. Rosemary such bittersweet memories pervade our consciousness sometimes and it is hard to suppress them... such heartfelt emotions here that spoke of a love and tribute.

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  17. The mother becomes the child..becomes the mother again...yes perhaps in someways that is the way of the world - I love the grit, honesty and ultimately the beauty of seeing the good and the pretty after the axe falls and our defences drop.. Mothers are never easy are they!

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  18. What I really admire about this is that you capture the spirit of Eliot's Prufrock. The longing and the loss, the needed love, and yet the felt push away from this. A mixture.

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    1. Thank you, I'm glad you thought so. I did hope to get some of that Prufrock flavour into it. It's all the more poignant in that I first encountered that poem read by Robert Speight on a recording my Mum and stepfather used to play for entertainment (before TV, let alone the internet). We used to go around quoting lines to each other.

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  19. For me, I embrace that quiet still moment...beautiful Rosemary.

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  20. There are so many for whom this holiday is less than the Hallmark hype makes it out to be. This is such an honest piece, full of the complexity and pain that sometimes characterizes the mother-child relationship.

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  21. Oh, so beautiful and real, that "troubled love". So vivid the vision of her in the nursing home and the starkness of her death. I LOVE your closing lines: '"Yes, you look pretty", I think at the sky. ' Wow, Rosemary, a fantastic poem.

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  22. A wonderful expression, Rosemary.

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  23. That must be hard, Rosemary. You told it well, not dwelling on the bad but letting us, your readers know. My Dad and I didn't have a rift but I never forgave him for a brutal beating that I did not deserve (also I was very young, possibly four yet). I think he forgot but I didn't ever mention it to him.
    ..

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  24. Just beautiful... Against this day, though, my defences buckle.. such a powerful line and a fantastic use of form..flows seamlessly.

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  25. "that axe of a moment" and then looking up and loving her--well, yes. Gorgeous, startling. Very real.

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