Sunday, June 13, 2010

For my Mother on my Birthday

I had forgotten about this poem until my sister sent me the most incredible birthday gift -- she had a line from this etched onto a beautiful bracelet. It made me dig through my computer files to find the whole thing. The first half of this poem is a bit private, and heart-breakingly sad, about the death of my uncle Tom, and my mother taking our cousin, Murielle, to live with us. Murielle is a wonder, a delight to all of us who get the unmitigated pleasure of watching her grow up.

But this half of the poem is for my mother.

The Guardian

II). Fall Creek, Ithaca NY

The water rushes under the bridge
crayfish scuttle from underneath the rocks
they learn to play
each teaching the other
this is what it means to be a child
twice by plan, thrice by divine intervention
            I watched you, when I was with God
open the blinds and make the coffee
raise two girls
            until you could raise me

one generation to the next
one generation to the next
alert even at night
when all the children are sleeping
safe in the peach colored house on the corner
where the lilies bloom and tuck themselves away
and the back porch cradles the echoes of a family
who are soaked into the pores of the wood.
I left my tears on the shingles of the roof
under the stars by the window
where she stretches, and kicks in her sleep.

I whisper from here,
to the guardian
when the Victorian house is creaking and settling at night
when everything is less bearable
            you carry us all on your slender spine
            your magic still lingers in the lining of our bellies
in the width of our hearts
you taught us to open
one for the other
and so we are
just a circle of you
stretching through the distance
ageless through the ages
a memory stamped into the earth
we will whisper
we were here
we were loved
and you birthed us all
the ancient mystic roots itself through you
the mother
the guardian
the woman who sometimes forgets she teaches us all
in how to believe. 

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful. Thanks for sharing with us, Signe.