Poem for My Mother – June 2017

Mum 1980s

This dark-fringed little woman is my mum. I’m celebrating from afar in Greece; unbelievably she turned 80 yesterday. She hasn’t changed much really! Gray hairs crept in a few years ago, as did Molly our dog’s muzzle before she died a ripe old age. I love this photo, it seems to say something about where she comes from, what her values are. That ruddy glow (like the boots) that comes from we think Swedish roots somewhere. We’ve had our battles for sure, but somehow as my own skin matures the conflicts are absolved by a much deeper knowing. A respect for her journey and a magnificence borne from an understated, often lost, being there for others. That kind of beauty. Anyway posting this poem that grew out of my mother reflections today, it’s such a good thing to do, whatever your relationship with your mum, I’d recommend having a try 🙂

Shell, soil and saline make chemistry,
As waves lap on the lobes of sand;
As pen births these little patterns, arches,
Scratched in open sounds on the page.

So you, like a colour seeping into canvas,
Soak under my skin, over the years;
A shimmer here, the laughing breeze,
And there a loss, the trembling leaves.

It is as though your rose-flushed face,
Waiting, on the shoreline salt of the earth,
Appears, washed by expectant tears,
Then hides again in moss and shadow.

It is in this hiding that I see you now,
A woman who has run into the world
With, practically, too much kindness.
Your vanguard; a stove-side panting dog,
Your red shoes; a pair of garden boots.

And I see your arching spine now,
Bending over in the vegetable patch.
I feel it, bird-like, mixing seeds in a bowl,
Making a cake, patting it in your hands.

You who have turned, in light and dark,
To me, afraid but unflinching in heart,
So I might root the life you gave me.
So we might run free with the wolves.


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