Monday, 13 February 2012

an offering - songs of my mother leaving - continued

we were heading to the shower one day when strength left my mother's legs and we collapsed together onto the couch - and there we stayed - me trapped underneath my mother's torso - for a period of about five minutes
I wasn't really sure if she was alive, or dead, or dying - but it felt like I needed to wait it out and she would come back to me
suddenly she did - as though the electricity was running again through her body and mind

my writing is sort of like that
I am trapped under it and then suddenly it is time to listen, and move, and see words forming on the page.

so I offer more poems while the electricity is running


my mother
was getting hard
the softness of her body disappearing
bone so hard, obviously pronounced

the beauty of bones
long elegant leg bones, arm bones
rib and cheek bones
all pronounced
no longer blurred by flesh
drawn back tight over all those bones
cheeks hollowed out "my lost Mayan Incan mother" I thought 
the gaunt beauty of bones

she is connecting
with everyone
who has come before
and all unborn creatures
and she is leaving me here
she is leaving me here
she is leaving


she is holding towels
onto open palms 
and arms

the request
"when Bernice and dad come
I have to be ready
will you help me pack?"

a sister and a father
coming from the other side

"close" she was saying
"but we have time to prepare"


walking pathways thru the woods next to
the coast of the bay
step by step we

my mother's painful pace
she stops
examining plants, stones
"are we going to slowly?"

"no" this is my chance 
to look 
at this part of the world
in detail
of my mother's pain
and her constant 
of the same

dreaming again

dreaming again
they are still alive   but I am certain we
buried them both
funerals, I'm sure
how long will I have to look after them?
so much care
these people are needing

dreaming again
my mother and I are tending
the vegetables growing
up through the slats in the floor from
the ground underneath
we are in the house that is not a house
trees and sky all around
but walls and a roof
how so? 
I don't understand

he shouldn't have left me 

"he shouldn't have left me"

"he didn't want to leave 
he loved you
it's not his fault that he died"

"I know"

she is looking at her husband's photo on the wall


a tiny scrap of newsprint she is holding
retrieved from the jewelry box
"you might find this helpful" she says 
"when?" I asked
"when I am dead" she says
it was the poem "do not stand by my grave and weep"

months later
she says
"I'm nothing"
"no" I say and retrieve the poem
from the box and read:
"Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awake in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die."
"see? you are everything"

"I know" she says
"but it's so hard to remember"

soon after 
we are all crying while
my sister in law reads
the poem at the funeral

in the moment

"see the house?"
she is pointing to the stones in the walkway
we are having lunch in the sunshine
she gets up, starts to show me
"i'll loose it"
she sits down and directs my steps
a little this way
a little that way
focusing on the image
until my foot is there
where she sees the image of a house

the world crystallizes 
I am there 
my mother is there
in the sunshine
grey stones under my feet
the soil under the stones
grass all around
and sun
down from the sky

all that is
all that was
all that ever would be