Skip to main content

You Were There - a poem for our mother



At your eightieth birthday party you sat under the umbrella with Bob,
your cigarettes and martini, your eyes laughing like blue bird wings,
shaded from the sun. Yesterday is smoke to the sky and all the world
rendered to the present is here in this garden, familiar faces
names forgotten along with the rest of your life.

When you look in the mirror you ask whose wrinkled face
stares back at you and I remember the day
you declared yourself not beautiful anymore. Is losing
memory a careless wish to lose the self
you no longer want?

Women’s scars, trophies of battles survived
are not glorified here, they are veiled in shame, but once
you taught me how to tie my shoes, make my bed
and love my children. That is why, as the party began,
I tried to mirror back the beauty you didn’t catch
in your reflection.

Words barely out I strained through tears to bring the air
from lung to tongue, gasping for the right sound.
Surrounding eyes were filled as well as though we understood
what hadn’t formed in the mouth, and you rose from your seat
to put your arms around me. A mother’s comfort burst through
nameless grief and the reason we were there made clear.
That is beauty.

Later you danced on the kitchen floor Sally washed
in the morning of the day we ran like ants to carry tables
and chairs through narrow doorways and carefully lay
the frozen salmon thawed in the bath, on its final platter
in a maze of salads and buns. Tables, ceilings,
punctuated with purple and blue balloons. You and Dot,
your feet fast as marbles jived to Glenn Miller, your face
with no memory of shyness beamed and yet,
the next day when I recalled to you these moments

you asked if you were there.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Ultimate Goal of Patriarchy is the End of Life

I want to clarify the line between men in general and patriarchal values propagated and imposed on human society.


In order for patriarchy to succeed, it had to kill more efficiently than the nine months gestation it took for a woman to give birth.  So the craft of war  became more than simply defending territory. It became the ritualized erasure of our human nature for the rule of centralized power. 

And no, it hasn't succeeded in diminishing the human population on this planet but it has succeeded in sustaining an ideology of what it means to be a man. 

Civilizations built on myths of great conquerors. Histories about the exploits of the greatest killers. Inventions of race, religious ideology and ritual that transformed the teachings of thoughtful prophets into crusades. Endless games of winning and losing.
Men who celebrate life through medicine, science, education, art, philosophy and poetry must be dismissed as soft, shamed as effeminate. 

Men who have been raised with love, love …

Anonymous Sources

Where does "Greatness" come from? The imagination? Facts? Confidence? A willing suspension of disbelief in a slogan that makes us happy? A capacity to judge well? An ability to observe and find solutions that benefit most if not all? Taking responsibility for the community? A masters degree from Oxford or Yale?

Let me offer the opinion that greatness comes from extraordinary effort or talent.  Greatness as it may exist in our anonymous ambitions does not win fame except in isolated circumstances.  That is to say, fame is not a realistic goal for an individual.

Greatness is like a dove in the imagination, an angel, a temporary insight, a fleeting epiphany. Something aspired to in the privacy of our minds.

Greatness was an ambition I held when I was a teen and had no proof that I was good at anything or useful to the world at all. After repeated criticism and dismissal from the community around me where I attempted to win something, anything, like a medal, a competition, or a…

Torturing Youth is Okay with us?

“More than two-thirds of Canadians feel Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the wrong choice in awarding a $10.5 million settlement to Omar Khadr, according to a new poll by the Angus Reid Institute.” CBC News
But we don’t see the survey questions in this article. How was the poll actually worded? Reading one article might make us believe we are well informed, but how does a single poll actually tell us how people feel?  
“And while the survey shows that a majority of Liberals and New Democrats are opposed to the government's decision, how the numbers compare to previous polling suggests that views on Khadr have hardened over the last decade — and that he remains a divisive figure.”
How can a single poll tell whether Khadr is a divisive figure or not? What information do respondents have to make such a claim? 
The article then switches to a former US special force soldier who was blinded in one eye during the 2002 firefight in Afghanistan involving Khadr.  Of course he would be critica…