In Other Words, Love

Scan“call me if you need anything,” you say ~
then the sweet swift chatter of the keyboard
birthing words into evergreen poet-trees,
my thoughts and your face, sometimes the
word is love, other times the word is love,
ubiquitous, omnipotent, found in the heart,
in the dictionary, in the mind of the child,
in the child’s mind that lives in the adult,
love everywhere, i see it written on your lips
as we talk of everyday things, i hear the word
with my heart when you say “good bye , Mom~
next week, we’ll go out for lunch…and a drive ~
along the scenic route,” … that says love too

© 2012, poem and photograph, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved

Photo on 2014-03-31 at 17.16 #3unnamed-18JAMIE DEDES (The Poet by Day)~ I started blogging shortly after I retired as a way to maintain my sanity and to stay connected to the arts and the artful despite being mostly homebound. My Facebook pages are: Jamie Dedes (Arts and Humanities) and Simply Living, Living Simply.

With the help and support of talented bloggers and readers, I founded The Bardo Group because I feel that blogging offers a means to see one another in our simple humanity, as brothers and sisters and not as “other.” I am the poetry liaison and a member of the Core Team. Terri Stewart (Beguine Again) is in the lead position and the Beguine Again collaborative and The Bardo Group are coordinating a consolidation of the two groups.

“Good work, like good talk or any other form of worthwhile human relationship, depends upon being able to assume an extended shared world.” Stefan Collini (b. 1947), English Literary Critic and Professor of English Literature at Cambridge

A StoryCorps Story: a mother, a son, two secrets and much love

“But behind all your stories is always your mother’s story, because hers is where yours begins.”
― Mitch Albom (b. 1958) American author and journalist, quote from For One More Day

Our thanks to Laurel D. for suggesting this one.

gaia

Gaia, the essential mother, by Gretchen Del Rio.

Gretchen Del Rio's Art Blog

watercolor 7x10  4/2014 watercolor 7×10 4/2014

Nature – the gentlest Mother is,
impatient of no child
 
………………emily dickinson

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I Love My Mom

This morning I got an e-mail from her titled “catching up on the blogs”.  I felt her heart bubbling over like she had just emerged from an afternoon reading a favorite novel.  She had associations, appreciations, memories, connections to share, like her synapses were fireworks going off.  From a reader to a writer, this has got to be the highest praise.  She started off by remarking, in all caps, that there has to be a book in this somewhere and that she wants an autographed first edition.  Aw, Mom!

My mom is not a literary push over.  She has a degree in English from Radcliffe (now coed with Harvard).  She devours books regularly and always has.  Her typical posture these days is sitting in her high-backed rocker with knitting in hand, book strapped in on her reading stand, mind and fingers flying.  She used to hide away in her bedroom with a bag of snacks and emerge an hour or so later with renewed energy to tackle her household obligations, sporting a kind of secret glow.  Get her talking about one of her recent historical sagas, and she will enthusiastically engage for hours!  I love seeing her pull thoughts that have been carefully laid aside like unmatched socks and bundle them together with a flourish of discovery and pride. 

She recently told me that her doctor mentioned her good prospects for living another 20 years.  That would make her 97; she wasn’t sure she’d want to live that long.  But think of all the books you could still read!  Or that could be read to you, if the cataracts cause the eyes to fail.  I can still hear my father’s voice reading to her behind the bedroom door.  His partnership to her intellectually was so rich, until Alzheimer’s whittled his brain away.  I wonder if she feels the same phantom guilt I have in enjoying a healthy body and a sound mind after our husbands’ deaths.  Well, I suppose consciousness is a responsibility to approach with reverence.  We live, we feel, we think, we read, we make connections still.  May we both bring life and light to the world like fireworks, Mom, as long as we are able. 

© 2014, essay Priscilla Galasso, photo Dharam Kaur Khalsa.  All rights reserved

 

004PRISCILLA GALASSO ~ started her blog at scillagrace.com to mark the beginning of her fiftieth year. Born to summer and given a name that means ‘ancient’, her travel through seasons of time and landscape has inspired her to create visual and verbal souvenirs of her journey.

Currently living in Wisconsin, she considers herself a lifelong learner and educator. She gives private voice lessons, is employed by two different museums and runs a business (Scholar & Poet Books, via eBay and ABE Books) with her partner, Steve.

my mother’s love…

copyright cwmartin 2012

sometimes
when a fever
runs high
and
i
am alone
in my bed
all my fears
swirling in my head
creating such
dread
i
would swear
i feel your gentle hands
wiping my brow
and
speaking softly
that all
will be well
and
that i
am
not
alone

Poem inspired by Soul Dipper (http://souldipper.wordpress.com/2012/01/31/love-embedded-a-mothers/)

678ad505453d5a3ff2fcb744f13dedc7-1product_thumbnail.php41V9d9sj5nL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_CHARLES W. MARTIN (Reading Between the Minds) — earned his Ph.D. in Speech and Language Pathology with an emphasis in statistics. Throughout Charlie’s career, he maintained a devotion to the arts (literature/poetry, the theater, music and photography). Since his retirement in 2010, he has turned his full attention to poetry and photography. He publishes a poem and a photographic art piece each day at Read Between the Minds, Poetry, Photograph and Random Thoughts of Life. He is noted as a poet of social conscience. Charlie has been blogging since January 31, 2010. He has self-published a book of poetry entitled The Hawk Chronicles and will soon publish another book called A Bea in Your Bonnet: First Sting, featuring the renown Aunt Bea. In The Hawk Chronicles, Charlie provides a personification of his resident hawk with poems and photos taken over a two-year period. Charlie’s lastest book, When Spirits Touch, Dual Poetry, a collaboration with River Urke, is available through Amazon now.

Why not write a poem about your mother?

img118April has been declared International poetry month and The Bardo Group* are celebrating with all things poetry. Plum Tree Books will participate in interNational Poetry Month by publishing a new anthology of poetry.

Because we love all things children and all things poetry, I would like to bring together two marvellous themes: International poetry month with the recent celebration of Mother’s Day. Our anthology will celebrate all things MOTHER! Would you like to write a poem for your mother? Are you a mother who would love to encapsulate the experience of mothering? Would you love to write a poem for your child that will live forever? Or maybe, you are a child who would love to send in a poem about your mother?

This anthology will celebrate the essence of mothering. Send in an image to accompany your work, if possible…(details below)

I am also calling on artists and illustrators who would like to participate by helping us to illustrate this anthology with original work. All copyright and acknowledgement will, of course, be accredited to all contributors. Submission automatically licences Plum Tree Books to publish your work for the sole purpose of this publication only, but you always own your copyright.

We will also promote you!

Please submit your contributions to: niamhclune@plumtreebooks.co.uk

This anthology will be published as an e-book first. Proceeds of sales will go towards seeing your work in print. This will make a wonderful coffee table gift, or to use for self-promotion.

Encourage your children to participate and send in their drawings too!I will also be looking for the perfect image for the book cover.

All submitted images should have full copyright permission and be in high resolution (At least 300 dpi’s). Images should be scanned.

Submissions by June 5th

Publication as e-book by July 5th

Help us make this a thing of beauty and a joy forever!

Best, Niamh Clune

* Editor’s Note: Link HERE for The Bardo Group mission statement. The Bardo Group – an informal noncommercial collective – and Niamh Clune/Plum Tree Books have a casual nonfinancial friendship based on a shared love of poetry and the humanities and a desire to encourage peace and understanding, individual creativity and appreciation for the arts.

430564_3240554249063_1337353112_n-1orange-petals-cover_page_001DR. NIAMH CLUNE (Plum Tree Books Blog) ~ is the author of the Skyla McFee series: Orange Petals in a Storm, and Exaltation of a Rose. She is also the author of The Coming of the Feminine Christ: a ground-breaking spiritual psychology. Niamh received her Ph.D. from Surrey University on Acquiring Wisdom Through The Imagination and specialises in The Imaginal Mind and how the inborn, innate wisdom hidden in the soul informs our daily lives and stories. Niamh’s books are available in paperback (children’s books) and Kindle version (The Coming of the Feminine Christ). Dr. Clune is the CEO of Plum Tree Books and Art. Its online store is HERE.  Niamh’s Amazon page is HERE.

because a poem is everything you can be …

Chirlane McCray by Kelly Weill, NYU Local.com
Chirlane McCray by Kelly Weill, NYU Local.com

CHIRLANE McCRAY is a writer and poet, a speechwriter and wife of New York City’s new (as of January 2014) mayor, Bill de Blasio. She is also the mother of two children, Chiara and Dante.

According to her bio on de Blasio’s website, “Chirlane began writing at a young age. In high school she discovered ways to use writing as a tool for activism. While studying at Wellesley College and the famed Radcliffe Publishing Course, Chirlane became a member of the Combahee River Collective, a pioneering black feminist collective, which inspired her to write groundbreaking prose and poetry.”

I’ve triend to find poems by Chirlane other than the one below, which is being featured by just about everyone in the New York blogosphere. No luck. The poems are probably out in the world somewhere, but try to bring one up in a search and you get bombarded by the overriding political effluvia and razzmatazz. Nonetheless, this is extraordinatry poem and the one – according to the man himself – that made de Blasio fall in love with her. It is from Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology. I happen to have a copy of Home Girls, so I know it’s the only poem of hers in that collection. I was unable to find Chirlane McCray’s poems in the other anthologies I own.

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 10: Public Advocate and mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio kisses his wife Chirlane McCray after voting in the New York City mayoral primary on September 10, 2013 (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY: Public Advocate and then mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio kisses his wife, Chirlane, after voting in the mayoral primary on September 10, 2013 (photograph by Spencer Platt via Getty Images)

I Used To Think

I used to think
I can’t be a poet
because a poem is being everything you can be
in one moment,
speaking with lightning protest
unveiling a fiery intellect
or letting the words drift feather-soft
into the ears of strangers
who will suddenly understand
my beautiful and tortured soul.
But, I’ve spent my life as a Black girl
a nappy-headed, no-haired,
fat-lipped,
big-bottomed Black girl
and the poem will surely come out wrong
like me.

And, I don’t want everyone looking at me.

If I could be a cream-colored lovely
with gypsy curls,
someone’s pecan dream and sweet sensation,
I’d be

poetry in motion
without saying a word
and wouldn’t have to make sense if I did.
If I were beautiful, I could be angry and cute
instead of an evil, pouting mammy bitch
a nigger woman, passed over
conquested and passed over,
a nigger woman
to do it to in the bushes.

My mother tells me
I used to run home crying
that I wanted to be light like my sisters.
She shook her head and told me
there was nothing wrong with my color.
She didn’t tell me I was pretty
(so my head wouldn’t swell up).

Black girls cannot afford to
have illusions of grandeur,
not ass-kicking, too-loud-laughing,
mean and loose Black girls.

And even though in Afrika
I was mistaken for someone’s fine sister or cousin
or neighbor down the way,
even though I swore
never again to walk with my head down,
ashamed,
never to care
that those people who celebrate
the popular brand of beauty
don’t see me,
it still matters.

Looking for a job, it matters.
Standing next to my lover
when someone light gets that
“she ain’t nothin come home with me” expression
it matters.

But it’s not so bad now.
I can laugh about it,
trade stories and write poems
about all those put-downs,
my rage and hiding.
I’m through waiting for minds to change,
the 60’s didn’t put me on a throne
and as many years as I’ve been
Black like ebony
Black like the night
I have seen in the mirror
and the eyes of my sisters
that pretty is the woman in darkness
who flowers with loving

– Chirlane McCray

Photo on 2014-03-31 at 17.16 #3JAMIE DEDES (The Poet by Day)~ I am a medically retired (disabled) elder and the mother of a married son. The graces of poetry, art, music, writing and reading continue to evolve as a sources of wonder and solace, as creative outlets, and as a part of my spiritual practice. My Facebook pages are: Jamie Dedes (Arts and Humanities) and Simply Living, Living Simply.

For My Mother

For My Mother
Found_10764992_153120

I want to reach across the sky
to mists beyond the blue
to where you are imagined still
and I remember you

Your face was soft, your lilting tongue
a brogue of Burren’s air,
a flute that danced upon the wind
from Erin’s County Clare.

You danced a Hornpipe, kicked your heels,
smiled with not a care ~
With rocking ankle, turn of calf,
And ribbons in your hair.

Wild and exiled, mother mine
you beat the flaggy ground
with rhythm of the rebel coast
battering the sound.

I do miss your bluest eyes
and long for when you were
an orchid in a field of tare ~
the girl from County Clare.

Copyright, poem, Niamh Clune 2013, All rights reserved

Editor’s Note: Yesterday, May 30, was Mothering Sunday in the UK and Niamh’s lovely poem is posted in honor of the day. Best wishes and gratitude to moms in the UK and everywhere from The Bardo Group and thanks to Niamh for sharing this lovely homage to her own mom with us in celebration of this special day.

430564_3240554249063_1337353112_n-1orange-petals-cover_page_001DR. NIAMH CLUNE (Plum Tree Books Blog) ~ is the author of the Skyla McFee series: Orange Petals in a Storm, and Exaltation of a Rose. She is also the author of The Coming of the Feminine Christ: a ground-breaking spiritual psychology. Niamh received her Ph.D. from Surrey University on Acquiring Wisdom Through The Imagination and specialises in The Imaginal Mind and how the inborn, innate wisdom hidden in the soul informs our daily lives and stories. Niamh’s books are available in paperback (children’s books) and Kindle version (The Coming of the Feminine Christ). Dr. Clune is the CEO of Plum Tree Books and Art. Its online store is HERE.  Niamh’s Amazon page is HERE.

sleeping without walls

My mom died twenty-two years ago this month. She has been much on my mind these past few weeks.

squeezing a penny

my mother never knew the names for things
the trees were just trees, the flowers just flowers,
but she knew life as a sigh and love as a linchpin
and how to get to work and maneuver in the dark,
she could squeeze a penny and was known to force
tired feet into worn shoes, she could make them dance

Mom and Me 1950, Brooklyn
Mom and Me
1950, Brooklyn, NY

sleeping without walls

camp that year taught the art of sleeping outside
sleeping without walls, watching the stars and moon,
gathering dreams from sunsets and morning dew

we slept in bed-rolls configured of old white sheets
and army blankets made of itchy khaki-colored wool
i wondered if my uncles slept on them during the war,
as I wondered about many things, many things …
and that summer held other delights, climbing trees
and eating cherries without washing them, oh!

and there were blueberry bushes and fig trees and
i lined the path to our food hut with odd sunday stones,
my own bare prayer while the big girls were at Mass,
i marveled at my middle-aged mother’s plump knees
and marked her spirit for wearing shorts and for her
joining in children’s games and singing ‘round the fire

now i wonder at summer camp morphing into metaphor ~
all our lives we did those things: gathering dreams,
mom and me, outsider artists sleeping without walls

Mom and me 1980, San Francisco, CA
Mom and me
1980, San Francisco, CA

in the shadow of the moon

like lucid dreaming, like light-infused rain drops and
the untarnished silver stars above country terrain,
my mother calls to me from the shadow of the moon
my father beams his smile at me from the milky way
gone and gone, still their essence scents my nights

– Jamie Dedes

© 2013, poems and family photos, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved

Photo on 2012-09-19 at 20.00JAMIE DEDES ~ My worldly tags are poet and writer. For nearly six years I’ve blogged at The Poet by Day,the journey in poem, formerly titled Musing by Moonlight.  Through the gift of poetry (mine and that of others), I enter sacred space.

Claiming Rites of Passage

St. Luke's columbarium
St. Luke’s columbarium

A few years ago, I went to an exhibit on mummies at the Milwaukee Public Museum.  It was fascinating.  Listening to the whispered comments and questions of other patrons was fascinating as well.  We have a very scattered cultural approach to death, with so many various ways of marking the rite of passage, including not really marking it at all.

American culture, as a whole, has been dominated by technology to the point that important parts of our lives are relegated to “experts” and taken out of our hands completely.   My mother fought against this trend in the late 50s when she insisted on breastfeeding her babies instead of allowing the “experts” to convince her that artificial formula on an artificial schedule was better for them.

Birth experiences have become sterilized, institutionalized, and anesthetized as well in the mainstream. My 4 were all born in a hospital under the HMO system (but not under any pain killers!) because in my 20s, I wasn’t brave enough to seek more creative options.   However, my sister birthed one of her children at home, and I once assisted a friend who had a home birth.  It’s not impossible to choose to take full responsibility in this event.

Death is another part of life that more and more people deal with by proxy. The hospice movement is a wonderful example of the purposeful effort to maintain the grace and dignity of this stage of life by bringing it back into the home, away from institutions.  I recently watched an Ingmar Bergman movie set at the turn of the century, called Cries & Whispers (well, it’s actually called something in Swedish, but that’s the English title).  This intense family drama deals with the death of a spinster sister from cancer.  The action all takes place at home, in this case an elegant manor.  The doctor’s largest role is in an affair with one of the sisters, in flashback.  When I think of the family drama of my husband’s death, experts and technology played a huge part.  Unfortunately, that became a distraction from entering into the rite of passage, from experiencing the more intimate aspects of the dynamics that were changing my family.  What I mean to say is that it enabled denial.

The last photo taken of me & my husband
The last photo taken of my husband: 11 days before he died at home.

What does it mean to choose to take responsibility for my life?  Not to delegate the more painful or complicated bits to an “expert”, not to live by proxy or by representative?  In which situations do I most often abdicate my ability to decide a course of action?  Are they likely to be mostly financial, political, medical, social, spiritual, emotional or physical?  I am only beginning to wake up and ask myself these questions.  Steve often puts it to me this way: in every situation, you have at least 3 options:  1) Run away or hide  2) Try to change the situation  3) Change yourself.

This is a good time for me to think about aging, about how I want to live and address the changes that are happening now and will continue to happen.  What do I want?  I want to experience life in a more authentic way, not behind a duck blind or a proxy, not behind a curtain of denial or dogma, not by avoiding discomfort or hard work.  I want to make decisions about who I am and how to live proactively.  How do I embody this?  At this point, I am still figuring out who I am and want to be and recognizing places where that has been dictated and I have responded without looking deeper.   My father and my husband took great care of me.  I want to learn to do that myself.   I often dream about Jim returning as if he’d never died.

Last night, I had a powerful dream about him, set in the house I sold, with my young children around.  My consciousness struggled with it; I knew that the house was emptied and I’d moved.  I couldn’t understand why the furniture was back and the place looked so “lived in”.  I couldn’t understand why Jim was there.  He told me he was going out to work because he wanted to support me and the kids.  In a choked whisper, I closed the door behind him and said, “Don’t come back.”  I woke up crying.  Talking about this dream with Steve, I realized that I do want him to come back and float through my subconscious and consciousness without confusing me, without affirming me or correcting me, just visiting.  I suppose when I gain the confidence to affirm and care for myself, my dreams will change and Jim’s place in them as well.  Then we will both move beyond this Bardo and into a different sphere.

—- Priscilla Galasso

© 2013, essay and photograph, Priscilla Galasso, All rights reserved

004PRISCILLA GALASSO ~  started her blog at scillagrace.com to mark the beginning of her fiftieth year. Born to summer and given a name that means ‘ancient’, her travel through seasons of time and landscape has inspired her to create visual and verbal souvenirs of her journey.

Currently living in Wisconsin, she considers herself a lifelong learner and educator. She gives private voice lessons, is employed by two different museums and runs a business (Scholar & Poet Books, via eBay and ABE Books) with her partner, Steve.

the notes that embrace you . . .

Editorial note and reminder: In eight days, Wednesday, October 23, at 7 p.m. we will host a second writing challenge  (Writer’s Fourth Wednesday) featuring Victoria C. Slotto, novelist and poet. The subject of this next challenge-yourself exercise is stream-of-consciousness. So writers mark your calendars for next week’s event. Mr Linky, which enables you to share your work with everyone, will remain open for seventy-two hours. Victoria and Jamie will visit all participants to read and comment.

Here Renne Espriu shares a poem for her mother …

file0001670280217-1the notes that embrace you

i see you dancing
on the floor of the
pizza parlor
a smile playing
across your face

where every note
that is pumped
out of the theatre
pipe organ
embraces you

plys your feet
with rhythm
only you would know
caring not that
eyes are watching

i see you even though
you are gone now
a memory that
spilled out of
the letter you wrote

-Renee Espriu

© August 2013, poem “the notes that embrace you”, Renee Espriu, All rights reserved
Photo courtesy of morgueFile

c796b9e96120fdf0ce6f8637fa73483cRENEE ESPRIU ~ is a creative prose writer and poet. She began delighting us with her work at Turtle Flight, My Muse & Angels in March 2011. The work she shares with us there includes short stories. Renee is a daughter, mother, grandmother, and seeker of spiritual peace and soul-filled freedom. She’s studied at the graduate level and has attended seminary. She describes her belief system as eclectic, encompassing many faiths. She believes “Nature is the basis of everything that is and everything that is also a part of Nature.”

Those Infamous New York Moms

Mom and Me 1950, Brooklyn
Mom and Me
1950, Brooklyn, NY

A woman in Brooklyn decided to prepare her will. She told her rabbi she had two final requests. First, she wanted to be cremated. Second, she wanted her ashes scattered over the local shopping mall.

‘Why the shopping mall?’ asked the rabbi.

‘Then I’ll be sure my daughters will visit me twice a week.’

I met my Jewish friend, Laurel, when she came to a meeting at our local meditation center in Northern California where we now live. Laurel and I  got on right away. We both like Broadway shows, music and opera, reading, writing, and good meals seasoned with great conversation. She’s from Great Neck, LI in Nassau County. I’m from

Me and Rich 1972, Montauk Point, LI, NY
Me and Rich
1972, Montauk Point, LI, NY

the Center of the Universe, Brooklyn. We’re about the same age. So we come from the same time and, essentially, the same place.

Now New York moms get a bad rap, especially Jewish moms – but none of us gets off free. Laurel reminded me of that yesterday with a stereotypical New York joke at the expense of mothers. These jokes usually illustrate moms making caustic remarks or their attempts to foster guilt in adult children. While we do use regional idioms and have a distinct style of delivery, I’m really not sure that mothers from our time and place have the corner on either caustic commentary or the laying on of guilt. New York moms can’t be the only ones who, when distressed by a child’s behavior, say or at least think – despite how treasured the child … and they are treasured – “For this I was in labor thirty-six hours.”

Like all of us, my mother was very much in process and very much a product of her place and time. Among other things, what that means is that modesty was a primary concern. For my Maronite (Eastern Catholic) mother this included modest dress, which in turn included girdles. Now I’ve got to tell you that until I hit forty I was mostly underweight. In fact at Christmas when I was nineteen, I stood 5′ 3 1/2″ and, though I was three months pregnant with my son, I weighed only ninety-three pounds. Nonetheless, from my thirteenth year until her death when I was forty, my mother was adamant that I should wear a girdle so that I wouldn’t “jiggle.” That would be immodest and unseemly. Only my mother, I would think, would put me through this torture for nothing. As my husband said, “What’s to jiggle? If she turned sideways and stuck out her tongue she’d look like a zipper.”

Those old, typically New York jokes at the expense of our mothers were funny because there’s an element of truth in them. Our mothers often did pave the pathways to their homes and hearts with guilt. They could be cruelly caustic. They were as tough as life. They tended to be rigid and narrow on some sensitive subjects. But they were also present. They were idealistic. They worked hard in their homes and at their jobs, where they were grossly underpaid. Many of them worked for hours each week to make the most unbelievably complex old world dinners for traditional Sundays that included religious services and large gatherings of extended family and orphaned friends and neighbors.

No matter how difficult things got, these sturdy immigrant and first-generation American women did not resort to drugs, alcohol, or beatings. They went to bat for us at school. They got us into the best schools they could afford and kept us in school for as long as they could afford to do so. They protected us from old lechers and young men who did not have “honorable” intentions. Kudos and compliments were about as common as Dodo birds in the twenty-first century; but secretly they were pleased and would proudly show photographs of us to their friends and boast of our accomplishments. It took me years to appreciate their insecurities and motivations.

Mom and me 1980, San Francisco, CA
Mom and me
1980, San Francisco, CA

You can tell by the posture in the photo to your right, that moving into my thirties, I was still struggling with mixed feelings. The reason in this particular case: Before I went to work one morning, I left money on the kitchen table for a pizza. I called home at 5:00 p.m. as I was leaving the office and asked my mother if she’d order the pizza right away because I was “starving.” I got home and “binged”: I ate one slice of pizza and left the crust. “I thought you were hungry,” Mom said. “I was.”  The fact that I was thirty and still “eating like a bird” and underweight disturbed her. In turn, I was disturbed because she was still trying to tell me how to eat. I do the same sort of thing to my son now, not about food, but about other things.

I miss my mother and am thinking of her even more than usual with Mother’s Day soon to arrive. I wish she was here nagging me to clean my plate. I finally understand. As the saying goes, “We grow too soon old and too late smart.”

– Jamie Dedes

© 2013, feature and all photographs (from our family album, please be respectful), Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved

Photo on 2012-09-19 at 20.00JAMIE DEDES ~ My worldly tags are poet and writer. For the past five years on medical retirement due to a chronic, potentially life-threatening illness, I’ve blogged at The Poet by Day, formerly titled Musing by Moonlight. The gift of illness is more time for poetry. Through the gift of poetry (mine and that of others), I enter sacred space, the common ground that is our true home.

Honoring the Mother

Mother’s Day is a celebration honouring mothers and motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society. Nowhere it says it is only for human mothers, so let’s have a look at two bird-mothers.

baby_birds_hiding_under_mother_wing
The first second I saw this photo, I thought it was gross because the bird looked distorted. However, a serious deformation as having 4 pair of extra feet is a bit too much to take. Close inspection learns that this Common Ringed Plover is sheltering her chicks from the cold wind that can make their habitat, the beach, rather unpleasant. Mummy Ringed Plover will regularly do this till the chicks have replaced their fluffy down with insulating feathers.

Imagine being a chick Ringed Plover and just walking into the warm, insulating plumage of your big mum and having a chat with your siblings. I bet mummy-bird is enjoying this peaceful moment of having all her chicks near her too.

This peaceful moment is a pause in the paradoxical task that characterizes motherhood; mothers have to keep their offspring close to gear them safely in to adulthood, adulthood that is all about growing away from the parents. Keeping them close in order to let them go.

Here is another mummy-bird, shielding her chicks to keep them safe and warm.

70-dove-under-the-wing-from-e-mail

I like to point out that I can’t state for sure that above photos are depicting mums with chicks. The Dove and Common Ringed Plover can be fathers. They can be those excellent fathers that care about their youngsters. Mothering isn’t exclusively done by mothers. Therefore, if Mother’s Day is about mothering, caring and loving, we should celebrate Mother’s Day with all who care, love, and share. And this includes childless couples, cooks, nurses, doctors, and all those who take others under their wings for a cuddle, a dinner, a supporting hug, or a bit of warmth.

– Paula Kuitenbrouwer

© 2013, essay, photographs and artwork, Paula Kuitenbrouwer, All rights reserved

mg_4414paulaPAULA KUITENBROUWER is a Dutch nature artist living The Netherlands and sharing her work with us on her blog, Mindful Drawing and on her website. Paula says, “Mother’s Day is about a hug or a poem. Nothing more is needed. But if gifts are given; flowers express gratitude and love.”  She’s designed a Mother’s Day Gift-set for the 12th of May.You can purchase her art HERE.

In addition to art, Paula’s main interest is philosophy. She studied at the University of Utrecht and Amsterdam. She has lived in Eastern Europe and in Asia. Paula says that in Korea, “my family lived next to a Buddhist temple. In the early morning we would hear the monks chanting. During my hours of sauntering with my daughter through the beautiful temple gardens, I felt a blissful happiness that I try to capture in my drawings.” Paula sometimes teaches children’s art classes. She lives with her husband and daughter and close to her father. We are often honored with and most grateful for the wise and gentle posts from our much-valued Paula.

FROM THE BEGINNING

Family photo subject to copyright.

·

Every year without knowing it I have passed the day

When the last fires will wave to me

And the silence will set out

For the Anniversary of My Death, W.S. MerwinThe Second Four Books of Poems

FROM THE BEGINNING

by

Jamie Dedes

It was yesterday

that I retrieved my soul at last

moved by the placid persuasion of a psalm

reminding me of my rootedness

in the archives of heaven

 ·

In earlier times

life lay ahead, a rhythm of reciting tones

a paced chant before all that somber news

and facing facts and quiet homely work

of peacemaking for your sake

 ·

But this morning

I awoke a fading mendicant nun

reading my own rich requiem Mass

celebrating my heart’s trove

and your constant love

 ·

A few more breaths

and I’m a whisper in your ear

an old story of someone who birthed you

now melting into the great Forever

leaving us only a hallowed cord

 ·

From the beginning, Son

your spirit was to us a joy dancing

a perfect poem finely etched in old gold

holding fast to beauty and grace

faithful to your own gentle spirit

 ·

Listen to the hollows in the wind.

Listen, Son –

how love encircles and

echoes from the small Beginning  ….

into the great Forever