This poem was originally published in Four Blue Eggs, which is available from Homebound Publications (ON SALE) as well as on Amazon (paperback or e-book ON SALE!). Please consider purchasing a copy or downloading it for your Kindle or Nook and enjoying the poems on a summer day. In these transitional weeks between mother’s day and father’s day, you can read poems that honor family, nature, renewal and stamina. Enjoy. Buy a copy for your mom. This poem is for my mother, who’s birthday is today, June 1st. She’d be 72.
On My Mother’s Sixty-sixth Birthday
The hike is pleasant; the trail markers
are new, ferns and mountain laurel bloom
along the path. A soft whispering breeze
says something about remembrances
and a flimsy gasp escapes from my lungs.
Wishing for its own voice, a trickle of water
inches down a slope of jagged rocks as if
wanting just to touch something, however cool.
In a clearing, I see across the rounded tops of trees
into the valley and into the complex
gathering of green—the heart of June,
new and curious. Yet everything seems
to be empty. Despite the emeralds
all I spy are gaps; rifts appear where leaves
and bark separate, the gulf between earth
and sky is full of ever-present grey stones.
More than a half-life has passed
since we wondered whether the hair
she was losing would grow back black
or peppered with white ash, but I cannot
remember what we decided. Memory
in its detachment is as insufficient
as a summer waterfall.
Happy Mother’s Day. Here’s a poem for my mom, from Four Blue Eggs.
A slice of saffron in the autumn woods
becomes a thread the eye can follow
into next spring. It’s the same with mothers,
their love is sewn into our character,
into the yarn of history, into all the befores
and the ever-afters we’ll quilt ourselves.
We see her face when we look closely
into the structure of our smiles
or watch our own hands wash and dry the dishes, plunging
our fingers into warm blue water.
Every time we look with love
at bluebirds waiting on the clothesline,
or see sunshine stenciled in a shadow
on the sidewalk; every time
we pull the quilt up around our chins,
we’re colored by our mother’s threads.
We see her standing behind the camera
turning the lens, snapping the photo
so our faces are clear and smiling;
we must only turn the camera to see
the earth stitching its path
around the sun, its filament
curved into the elliptical promise of return.
Ferne with her first two children (three more to come), and a great shot of me showing my butt to the world. I’m pretty sure she made our matching outfits.
Young Ferne with her stylish mother, Margaret.
with one of two red-headed babies (probably Kris).
Four Blue Eggs is available as a Kindle e-book for only 4.99 right now on Amazon–a mother’s day bargain. Preferably, support independent publishers and buy the collection directly from Homebound Publications. Pick up Reconnaissance too, and pre-order The Foundation of Summer, by Eric D. Lehman, my talented husband.