A Ballad for Stabat Mater

Stabat Mater: Pietro Perugino’s depiction of Mary at the Cross, 1482. (National Gallery, Washington) / public domain

A dedication to mothers

Do you remember radiance
of one who’s always there
the taste of swollen mamilla,
the scent of her sweet hair.

Whose kiss and gentle healing touch
was cooling with a balm
that soothed your painful childish graze
and injured pride becalmed.

Who taught you that a healing touch
and kiss could lead to more;
whilst she embraced competing love,
you found what love is for.

She stood as you went off to war,
to fight life’s bitter battles.
She taught you all you need to know
to rise above mere chattels.

As wisdoms, many, come to you,
from battles won or lost,
a mother’s love transcends it all
and never counts the cost.

In your old age you may well see
your children bear their own,
revealing then the seeds of love
that Stabat Mater’s sewn.

When dotage dims your consciousness,
confusion blurs your view,
expect a revelation that
her love has seen you through.

*****

The poem “A Ballad for Stabat Mater” struck me on several levels. I had already written a poem for my son’s thirtieth birthday (“The Fourth Age of Man“), basing it on William Shakespeare’s “Seven Ages of Man” (a monologue, which he wrote to open his play, “As You Like It”). Incidentally, I found it particularly poignant to note that my son had reached the same age as Jesus Christ was alleged to be, when his own mortal life ended. So, the latter never had the chance to taste the next three ages or, perhaps, he lived all seven in that short life span?

Anyway, I found my Mother’s Day poem, written in the form of a ballad, again influenced not only by Shakespeare’s “Seven Ages of Man” but also the Stabat Mater, the unforgettable and extraordinarily moving image of this religious icon, Mary, the mother of of all mothers, as she stood and watched her own son die, painfully. “Stabat mater dolorosa”, meaning the sorrowful mother stood, is a masterful understatement. How many mothers could submit themselves to such unbelievable pain! And yet all mothers do, albeit mostly to a lesser extreme, for as long as they live.

I salute all mothers, however good or bad a mother you may think you are, you have still had to suffer for your children.

© 2012,  John Anstie

First published on 18th March 2012

 

His Mother Bellows

“Jack, no.” as he bursts out their open

kitchen door past his garden toys

 

boy let’s a tiny plastic bag he clutches go

so it balloons with summer air

 

where it floats amongst lion’s teeth wends

bends a way above cut grass

 

fast up and over his red and yellow plastic slide,

glides Into his neighbours garden,

 

kitchen calls his feet back to fetch another

mother bellows again “Jack, no!”

© 2019, Paul Brookes

Magnum Opus

To me, there nothing so sacred an office as parenthood.

But with every superpower, comes the great weight of responsibility.

Helping someone get from here…

…to here.

It’s the most daunting…

…most joyful…

..most challenging position I’ve ever held.

The job description is clear. When they are tiny, love them.

Nurture them.

Love them some more.

We have a few short years to raise and guide them, and allow them to find their own way to shine.

To help them acquire the skills they need to paddle their own canoe.

To allow them to test their wings.

To give them every opportunity to make decisions and exercise their own power.

Even so, one of the greatest challenges we have as parents is to let them grow up.

A few years ago, with the kids’ encouragement, we stepped out of our comfort zone into the Amazon jungle.

To ride a zip-line over the jungle canopy we had to reach a platform 125 feet above the jungle floor. Instead of letting our guide use pulleys and ropes to haul them up, they insisted on pulling themselves up, step by step.

As they dangled from a single rope a hundred feet up, I thought of the book Charlotte’s Web. Charlotte considered her egg sac, from which her babies hatched, her ‘magnum opus.’ One by one, the baby spiders spun a fine web into a tiny balloon and rode the breeze, floating off into the world to land somewhere and build a web of its own.

I couldn’t have been prouder–or more relieved–when they climbed to the top under their own power.

We have all traveled well together…

…but children must be free to choose their own direction, just as we did when we were young.

I quell my panic when one of my chicks…

..leaves the safety of the home harbor.

I trust them to stay calm, exercise good judgement, weather the storms…

…and any other unforeseen dangers.

We cut them loose from the mother ship, then hope and pray they find a soft landing place…

…and a bright future.

 

And that, every now and then, they remember to phone home.

All words and images ©2015NaomiBaltuck

Disjunction (in English and Albanian)

“With one hand touch the sky
With other rate impulses of heart”

Mother…
don’t leave me alone
Mother…

I’m afraid of this wild world
Mother…
don’t leave me, mother!!!

Your tear fills the ground around me
Mother…?!

Shkëputje

“Me njërën dorë prek qiellin
me tjetrën matë impulsat e zemrës”

Nënë…
mos më lër vetëm!
Nënë…
kam frikë nga kjo botë e egër!
Nënë…
mos më braktis, nënë!!!

Loti yt rëndon dheun mbi mua
Nënë…?!

© 2019, Faruk Buzhala

Your Magic, Loving

our mother with her eyes looking, seeing feeling writ large,
touching what we couldn’t say, because we were scared,
lonely in the chaos of the 50s,
beautiful and scarred already,
your quiet eyes were as fingers, keeping us
as one in the light,
keeping us inside ourselves,
in that Bay Area bright.

© Linda Chown, Mother’s Day 2019

Out of the Womb of Time

Madonna of the Plains


out of the womb of Time they slide
peasants and kings, artisans and queens
murders, warriors, healers, peacemakers
the grandfathers and grandmothers
on whose shoulders we stand

they are with us, their spirits sensed
though unseen
their hearts are in our mouths
as they guard and guide

feet rooted in the mud of Earth
we drink the wine, eat the roots
and sing the songs we inherited
their sayings are our sayings
their voices are our voices
carried on breezes
like the music of cathedral bells
like the call of the muezzin
they chime and summon
they sum what came before

from their gnosis
whispered in the ear of silence
we learn: we are nameless but not lost
we too shall echo
shall be the shoulders
shall be the mothers and grandmothers
shall be the Hope and the Light
along the path . . .
. . . . beckoning

Originally published in Brooklyn Memories

© 2012, poem and photograph, Jamie Dedes

A Separate Peace

“I think this to myself even though I love my daughter. She and I have shared the same body. There is a part of her mind that is a part of mine. But when she was born she sprang from me like a slippery fish, and has been swimming away ever since. All her life, I have watched her as though from another shore.” Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club



 sometimes …
near impossible to see past the manic crowds
or to lift our eyes to look at the wholesome
trees inscribing their calm upon the sky

sometimes …
we record our fears with writing utensils,
call them weapons, coloring the margins
of our books with the dry dust of martyrdom

sometimes …
the children use their pages to blot away their
mothers’ tears, turning backs on the old refrains,
hearing their own souls speak, deaf to their fathers

sometimes …
those children fell trees, transforming them
to paper and well-sharpened pencils, their lives
written in the manner of their own separate peace

“Everything has to evolve or else it perishes.” John Knowles, A Separate Peace

Originally published in Brooklyn Memories

© 2013, Jamie Dedes

Your Mother Is Always With You

Your Mother is always with You
    She’s the whisper of the leaves as you walk down the street.
    She’s the smell of certain foods you remember.
     She’s the flowers that you pick, of the perfume that she wore. 
She’s your breath in the air on a cold winter’s day.
    She is the sound of the rain that lulls you to sleep,
She’s in your laughter, crystalized in every tear,
She’s the place you came from, your first home.
    She’s the map you follow with every step you take.
    She’s your first love, your first friend, even your first enemy,
    nothing on earth can separate you.
    Not time … Not space … Not even death!
2019©Isadora DeLaVega

Tribute

Where are the prayers of the mothers?

Only Heaven could know,

Tell me oh Lord

Where they are stored

In a spring, that in Eden flows?

 

Where are the prayers of the mothers?

Prayers that daily ascend,

During ring around rosie

Or making babe cozy,

Urgent prayers plead end to end.

 

Where are the hopes of the mothers?

Hopes that somewhere soar?

Hopes there in the heart

To quickly impart

To a child forevermore.

 

Where are the prayers of the mothers?

Prayers so silently pled?

They’re shining at midnight,

Glowing in moonlight,

Lighting our way ahead.

© 2019, Sharon Frye

Those Before Me

Those who have gone before me-

My mother and her mother too,

Have left their mark upon me

In all I think and do.

 

Times that I remember

From earliest youthful dreams,

Were molded by each moment

I spent with both my queens.

 

If I could leave an impact

Or a treasured legacy,

I pray it is no less-

Than this one left to me.

 

A legacy, so sterling,

And a testament of care,

Leads me and guides me

Just like a whispered prayer.

© 2019, Sharon Frye

Letter to My Mother: The Only Inhabitant of Heaven

Mother,
let me build your heaven!

You would be a butterfly
caressed by the sun
and the snake frozen by your sight
would lose his poison
The entire view would borrow its color
from the rainbow of your wings
The rest you should find it into my palm
there you would tuck in with my soul
I will be the guardian of your sleep
For nourishment I would serve you my eyes
my tears you’ll drink to calm the thirst …

Yes, mother, with your permission,
I will build you the heaven!

© 2019, Iulia Gherghei

My Mother’s

“Art creates the dream of life“

Is that the season?
The leaves are hitting the silent windows
and some roots of trees are creaking,
but I am a dream.
I do not recognize the colors,
when the sun of that town
without time shelters me like Mum.
Which flowers shall I gift to you?
I am not a saint – I cannot revive you.
I cannot even grief.

To gift to you – a last flower.

© 2019, bogpan (Bozhidar Pangelov) 

“Broken Homes,” Single Moms, A Remarkable Son

Gill Scott-Heron (1949-2011), American jazz poet, spoken-word poet, muscian and author
Gill Scott-Heron (1949-2011), American jazz poet, spoken-word poet, musician and author

“All I really want to say
Is that the problems come and go
But the sunshine seems to stay . . . “


Editor’s Note: It’s interesting to see what Heron does with his personal experience an observation as a man who was raised by women.  I like that there’s nothing of the victim mentality in this piece. I like the way he talks of dealing with life as it is. I appreciate that he points out that single-parent homes are not always the result of abandonment but are often made so due to parents who were lost in war or in jobs as police officers, firefighters or pilots. / J.D.


“Women folk raised me and I was full grown before I knew I was raised in a broken home.”

Header photograph/Heron at the WOMARD festival in Bristol England, 1988 by Robman94 under CC BY SA 2.0 license.

Conflict

Mother walked into a coffin

full of snow and ice,
I should have told her

January’s not good for dying.
On nights like this air clots in hindsight,
I start a fire in her grave
watch winter burn in a blaze.
She warms her feet under my spleen,
rearranges my ribs not knowing
where to land,
as if walking through mine fields
stepping in footprints of others.

Can the woman fit in my skin as I age ?

She had church
thousands of them tearing
through stone groin of hills,
does it matter that prayer is stale
on my lips?

She had trust,
same desert swallowed our past,
she shook off the sand,
it fell like flakes of doubt and regret on my hands.

She knew love,
it filled her bones till they cracked,
I love with my heart behind barbed wire.

My voice paces in our language
between memories hanging like bats
on clotheslines,
clashing with a bright yellow dress
I remember from somewhere,
and the moonlight softening the lines
blurred in my chest.

A tender moment I chew and spit in a song,

lyrics scrape the only thing left alive

against my cheek,

this longing rising inside a sigh
where she owns all of this silence
crumbling on my tongue.

© 2019, Silva Zanoyan Merjanian

The Apple and the Tree


I like to think humanity is a bunch of apples

We have flavor

Happiness, sorrow, glee, anger, silliness, love

We have sour greens, juicy yellows, and sweet reds

 

Now as siblings of humanity where do apples come from

Trees

Tall, strong, expansive trees with their branches flailing about

Now trees in fact can hold many different kinds of apples

Ones with love, ones with music, ones with sports, ones with sadness, ones filled with life

Trees nurture these fruits with all of the heart, soul, and mind

Filling each apple with peace, love, and joy

 

Humanity is a relationship

An experience of nurturing from trees to their apples

You are my tree

You are my brother’s tree

You have nurtured us

What do you have now

Well a bunch of fruits living in your house of course

 

Happy Mother’s Day

Crazy Fruit Tree

© 2019, Kennedy Stewart; illustration courtesy of Jean Beaufort, Public Domain Pictures.net

Kennedy Stewart is a young adult who takes great pride in his long, ginger hair. He is a graduate of Woodinville High School and is currently working towards his passion of gaming and music. His favorite musical is Hamilton and one of his favorite bands is Queen, but he loves all music. He hopes to be able to tell the stories of games through composing music. He loves animals and is currently plotting to adopt this little one with his brother.

 

Mothers’ Day: Different Thoughts

What Greater Expectations than Great Expectations,
Miss Havishams’ so many, embedded secluded, on dusty
wooden gilded thrones, behind cobwebbed curtains,
Majestic Marvels, First Created, Sacred, now rest transfixed
in false reprehension, languishing in darkened streets
As scattered clouds scan terrestrial to celestial dimensions
blinking intermittent flashes only to find twisted torments
blood filled swamps, whirring swarms of discontents, amidst seas
of colorfully placed flowers ; Supreme Sopranos burnt to ashes.

Turning Around She Thought
O Woman’ What Mothers’ Day Means to You

created sacred beguiled abused
ordered bound accused excused
what woman’s day means to her
she thought…

what nights will make her scream
day is work, no escape
night ‘love? no! rape..
fears and fears of rape
drugged missing real or fake?

should she think of women famous?
those who are seen on history pages?

should she think of those unseen
pushed kicked thrown in cages?

mothers and daughters in frustration
yet manage homes and serve nations

should she honor the saintly ones
who were obedient ordained

should she mention those half
widows, widows of genocide

chained enslaved in perpetual pain?
or those maids forced to labor
or those who hold kids while
parents dine and perhaps wine’

whom should she call ‘mine’
standing serving morn til nine-
and there are families royal
to the people crown so loyal

loved honored seen by all
that is not all…..

so many names graceful glorified
history remembers all sacrificed
she thought…cannot pick one or two
one in white, covered one in blue-
East or West old or new…Oh
Athena’ Wise One ! Help’ if only I knew

© 2019, Anjum Wasim Dar