Remembering

Monday Morning Musings:

My mom and me. I’m about 3 years old.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“History says don’t hope

On this side of the grave.

But then, once in a lifetime

The longed for tidal wave

Of justice can rise up

And hope and history rhyme.”

–Seamus Heaney, “Doubletake”, The Cure of Troy

Lines quoted by Joe Biden at DNC 2020

 

My Mom’s Last Birthday Party
Remember when blowing out candles on a cake was something we did?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My mother would be ninety-eight today–

we’d hug and kiss, and smile in the way

 

you do with people you love–when we could and did,

we never thought it all would end, we’d bid

 

farewell to normal hopes, and sail into tomorrow

on boats barely afloat, fueled by sorrow

 

and a bit of hate. Yes, for the dissembler and enablers

who’ve made the situation worse. The world’s more unstable,

 

increasing so every day. And yet they play with clichéd lines–

heavy-handed, rabble-rousing—creating conspiracies, signs

 

of the time and getting worse. The storms come, the fires burn

still the seasons, turn, turn, turn—

 

I walk and think of flowers, our year of sitting amidst blooms,

the garden a refuge of sort from boredom, doom, the rooms

We spent a lot of time in this garden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

that confined you—and us–as we kept you company,

week after week, watching for changes, hungrily

 

asking you to remember the past, but wanting you to see

what you could of now, of me,

 

and we ached, all of us,

and we’d discuss

 

each change, each day, the words you’d say

of imaginary pets and our dead father, weigh

 

hope, laughter, grief in equal measure

and still remember and treasure—

 

a gift you’ve given me, to lift my face to the sun

to see that there are many, not just one

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

way to see color, beauty, light

the way it changes on the water and fades slowly into night

 

Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

where perhaps I’ll hear a mockingbird sing farewell–

a lullaby rather than a knell–

 

a song of love, of peace, of rising up–it’s time,

it’s time, that hope and history rhyme.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As some of you know, my mother died in April from Covid-related complications. Today she’d be ninety-eight. We couldn’t be with her when she died, and we haven’t really had a memorial. Tonight my husband, daughters, their spouses, and I will have a virtual dinner get together. I baked my and her favorite cookies over the weekend, and I’m baking a cake today.

Madelbrat (aka, Mommy Cookies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Thursday, my husband and I had a date night at a winery. We bought tickets a month before, but we were fortunate that the humidity was gone that day, and it was beautiful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Half-Revealed and Half-Concealed

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A whole world in a puddle.

 

Monday Morning Musings:

“For words, like Nature, half reveal

And half conceal the Soul within.”

Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “In Memoriam A. H. H. OBIIT MDCCCXXXIII: 5”

 

“Now it was only the rivers

that spoke of the rivers,

and only the wind that spoke of its bees,

 

while the unpausing factual buds of the fruit trees

continued to move toward their fruit.”

–Jane Hirshfield, “On the Fifth Day” 

 

How will we remember these days

of grief and sorrow for our world–

the facts of buds on trees

and rivers that keep on flowing

concealing and revealing what lies beneath

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in the upside-down world

where we gaze at transitory beauty

and fall, topsy-turvy

into its depths

as spring dances, mercurial,

 

 

swiftly fleeting,

yet heralding—the facts—

yellow-green wisps turn darker

the world gets hotter,

and trees reach up

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to light,

and down to darkness

half-revealed,

half-concealed

thoughts glimmer

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like tears

until they drop

salty pearls

leaving an alluvial trail

fertile with memories

 

and I think of this–and time

as I listen to words,

singularity, time and space,

the black hole left

in an absence

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even as we remember

the time before we are born

when my mother meets my father

and holds my older brother on her lap.

And she is young, old, older, gone. . .

.

. . .and here.

 

On Friday night, we visited with our daughters via Zoom. This Friday Shabbat dinner has become a new ritual. We ate soup and rolls, the gift of friends, sustaining us from a distance. I baked the cookies we call Mommy Cookies because they are my favorite. My mom loved them, too, and I used to bring her some.

I watched most of “The Universe in Verse,” which was live-streamed on Saturday just before we had our own family Zoom memorial session for my mother. It was a somewhat surreal experience marked by technical problems, non-sequiturs, and some memories of my mom that we shared.

We weren’t the only ones with technical difficulties. I tried to watch the Sonheim’s 90th birthday celebration last night, but I gave up. Apparently, it did go on, over an hour later that the scheduled 8 PM start.

We finished watched Giri/Haji (Duty/Shame) on Netflix, which I highly recommend if you want something unique. I really liked it.  It’s a Japanese-British production that is difficult to describe. A Japanese detective is looking for his criminal brother in England. The detective’s daughter joins them. It is a crime show and a family drama. There is romance, and action scenes, and there are other characters who become important and endearing. I wasn’t sure about it after the first episode, but I really did get caught up in this show.

 

 

 

 

 

And After

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An ache—and after–

she lives

in rain whispers,

moon music,

and dappled light

 

~winging through trees~

 

the crows call, and I laugh

a dream of ifs, why, and how

love is a recalled–

the scent of roses

on a summer breeze, lingering.

 

A puente from a collaboration with the Poetry Oracle. She truly does know everything. My mother died one week ago.

January 20, 2017: A Quadrille

In 1799, George Washington died,

the nation cried,

with solemn faces,

tears leaving traces,

salt licks of grief.

No relief,

we look at the past,

and fear the future casts

black shadows—so we mourn,

torn

between hope’s whispers, freedom’s shout,

resist, watch out.

 

Another quadrille for Dverse.