Mother’s Day 2020
Nothing is more precious than the enduring bond between a mother and her child and what better way to express that love than through poetry.
Enjoy these heartfelt odes to mother from some of our local poets.
A Stay-At-Home Mom Was I
What can I tell you
About the life I’ve lived
Will I impress you
With all the things I did?
It may not mean a lot to you
But my life has meant lots to me
The greatest two days of my life
Was the births of he and she.
Since the days my kids were born
Little boy and little girl
I haven’t worried much about me
I was absorbed with him and her.
Spent days in the kitchen
Cooking up lots of stuff
Spent time playing
Never really cleaned enough.
Never got the cobwebs
Dust seemed to be everywhere
But boy did we have fun
Which was beyond compare.
Watching those Disney movies
Ordering a pizza or two
Playing with our pets
Saying “I love you.”
I wouldn’t change a thing
About how my life was lived
Because the best thing of all
Was doing what I did.
Being a mom of two
Watching them both grow
Has brought me so much happiness
More than anyone will ever know.
A stay-at-home mom was I
Not a fancy title did I have
But I have memories I will treasure forever
Of the best life I could have ever had.
– Connie Webb, all rights reserved.
She takes the seeds from her womb,
scatters them to the wind
and sings to them, the Mother.
And the wind lifts them high
above fields, above fears,
takes them round and round then lets them fall.
And flowers and trees
and children grow from the earth.
And the sun shines upon them
and makes them blossom.
And time watches,
counts, and waits for them.
Around the corner
the panhandler stands
with his hand stretched out:
“Spare any change, Mister?”
There’s Vietnam in his head,
and the blades of the helicopter
keep roaring in his ears.
And the children duck
at unexpected times
as if they could hear them too.
But it’s another war they hear,
the one that follows
the one that’s ahead.
And they know, the children,
that it will take them
and bleed them
and drop them from the sky.
And the Mother will scoop them up
and return them to her womb
and refuse to give birth again.
– Jay Frankston, all rights reserved.
Barbara Anne Johnson
It has been three years since you died.
Taking care of you
Why you wanted to die
That you were tired of life
Our lunches on Fridays
Our spirited conversations
Watching TV with you
The travelling we did
You handling the two colts
Sewing for you
Cooking with you
Enjoying our times together
I Love You
Barbara Anne Johnson
Nancy Jane Hilscher Johnson
September 20, 1926 – October 08, 2016
– Barbara Anne Johnson, all rights reserved.
Today I wear my mother’s socks
Today I wear my mother’s socks
Sorted out from her dresser drawers
From under the powder compact cases with their mirrors,
their rims of beige dust…
Most of the socks have gone to the nursing home with her,
any not darned with her Thirties thrift,
and at the Home, the laundry loses one of each pair with regularity.
I know the native injunction against family
keeping the clothes of the dead,
for it brings them back looking,
when they sense their shells filled with life, with lineage.
But my mother is yet alive, although her body tilts inch-by-inch lower,
her bones thin, and flesh pulls her to quiescence and slumber.
We walk each day in the creek beds of her memory.
She watches me as I wear out clothes that cannot fit her again.
Like her bras. There it is said.
I had to work up to the confession.
I wash mine, they grow tattered, so I pick up her Maiden forms,
new, still in the boxes she bought ahead —
How many years ago that ad campaign?
The cross-your-heart lines that lift and make breasts cones,
like the noses of rockets in the Sixties.
But I never thought to fill my mother’s breasts since I was weaned,
and when I saw her engorged for my brother seven years later,
I swore I would never look like that.
Even before children came, my breasts were never perky on their own
And the Japanese girls asked “Why did I sag?” in the baths,
and I remembered the French detective whose wife would never take a hot bath
for fear of the effect on her breasts.
“It’s just about difference,” I said then, and now add on three kids suckled.
I let each of my children end it after long enough
And I could have fed twins or triplets with my milk.
I was big but not quite Fellini’s “8” or “Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex (but were afraid to ask)”
and since those years if I wish to be small in my chest I must starve to the bone everywhere else.
But my mother did not lose a breast or die, as her younger sisters did.
Her two breasts are there now, lowering her body with their weight
and the bras too small. the straps too cutting, the flesh done with confinement.
I carry genetic probabilities, the conundrum of mammograms and lumps, of amazons.
Then I remember
the baby hands grasping me, the sweet burning of their bite,
the clench of my uterus
and yes, all the other skeins of pleasure,
and I know as surely as the grip of the Earth
somewhere the sun is shining on islands like turns of hips
and hills like women’s breasts.
– Janferie Stone, all rights reserved.
Mother’s Day, India 1968
A marvel only I can see
from the center of the maze:
my mother in her turquoise
raw silk suit gets up to leave
the church. My faith in things–
just starting to waver– takes
an all or nothing leap. I do
believe in her. In my own life!
Her joy in being wrapped
in fabric cut from the sky,
the bolt unwound by the hillside
tailor shines in my eyes.
I am her boy! I see her walking slowly
down the sun-drenched aisle.
My father–finished preaching–goes before
to greet the congregation at the door.
Obscured by shade, my father’s hand
extends to greet the worshipers.
I see her standing there, beatified,
in turquoise, shining with a light inside.
– Dan Hess, all rights reserved.
Florida comes out of a suitcase
opening with a balmy whiff
after returning far northwest
upon bright clouds into
cold stove dirty ashes
clammy faltering fire
sputters not yet
polyester blazer de rigueur
for escorting with gentility
a mother among retired
some things can be said
only once if at all
questions never asked
leave the suitcase open
more days in January
recalling the shirts
handle the sandal
Gordon Black, all rights reserved.
Those who are granted the gift of motherhood
may be surprised, challenged and encouraged
as they and their child journey
through innumerable milestones
each day learning more
from one another
Fortuitous and precious moments of time
continue presenting multitudes of opportunities
for reciprocal growth
love beyond measure
The gift of an awe-inspiring motherhood
promises a marvelous education
evoking eons of mindful compassion
– Janice Marcell, May 9, 2020, all rights reserved.