In the rhythm of everyday, it is sometimes the quiet, simple tasks that convey the steadiness and the “fullness” of a mother’s love. Poet, David Young, offers this poem as a tribute to his mother as well as a legacy to his own children. He revisits the corridors of his memory as a young man where he discovers “a modest lamp” that has burned in his past; and now, with new eyes, he appreciates its bright, enduring light.
There have been many times in the seasons of our lives as mothers, when we may have voiced the same wish as the poet, Edna St. Vincent Millay: to possess “the courage that my mother had.” That season for some of us may be right now as we make sense of, as well as carry on with our lives in the global tumult of a pandemic. Going forward, we can only guess at all the changes that may confront us. How timely it might be to reflect and explore the ways where courage may lead us. “Courage like a rock,” quarried from the heart and spirit of our mothers.
In this year like no other, some things have remained constant. This poem by Dorianne Laux can bring to mind all the medical and essential workers who have kept us from going over the edge of the Coronavirus precipice. Their work ethic and their values are mirrored in the sacrifices they have made. Like the poet and her siblings who were left to cope without their mom in an emergency, many children of healthcare providers likewise found themselves isolated from a parent who cared for Covid patients. Perhaps one day these children may echo the poet’s own realization about her mother: “She taught us well.”
Christina Rossetti has woven a sweet and lovely sonnet – a“wreath of rhymes” to crown her mother with as she turns 80. Tenderly, the poet cherishes her mother as her heart’s “quiet home,” the “lodestar” of her life’s ebb and flow, her “first Love.” A deep and wholehearted love resounds in every line of this touching tribute from a daughter to her beloved mother.
Nature is a soothing listener to our deepest emotions; but in the present moment, the grieving daughter finds no solace in the “deaf” lilies or in the blue sky of a summer’s day. A nearby garden bench offers rest and a moment to reflect on her mother’s passing. Almost instantly her heart opens, allowing her to place her grief “in the mouth of language.” From the numbness and isolation of loss, she discovers her life line: her poetic voice.