When I hear the words grace or kindness or indulgence, the first person I think of is always my mother – however frustrating she might be to me, or I to her, for that matter! This poem traces my journey with her from the time I was just a little boy…
It’s not a fact one realizes easily, but our relationship with our parents is the most complex in our lives.
It starts with demanded nurture, progresses to sought-support, slides into rebellion, often slips into antagonism, invariably becomes a mere backdrop to the seemingly more important ‘other’ relationships, until, with distance of time and often miles, it sidles into nostalgia, and finally finds a resting place of understanding and reconciliations.
We are lucky if they are still there when we reach the last stage. Because in life some closures are critical to get new beginnings, however late it may be.
What continues to astonish me is the serial forgiveness which we as their sons and daughters get, even after we have broken their hearts, and often their very being, with callous casualness.
I don’t know why Webster’s does not show ‘parents’ in its listing of synonyms for ‘grace’.
The poem –
Somewhere in my memory
she’s the one who brought the flowers,
I held my dad’s hand to the market,
but our home was her fragrance.
She stayed awake to darn a sock,
the one to sooth a fevered brow,
I fought with her in every age,
as I drifted away, to only drift back.
I never floundered in her eyes,
even in angry pauses which fell as empty shells;
when I was unmoored in my insecurities,
she was the sky steady in my drift.
I left her hearth too soon,
with an excuse of a meeting with life,
as if she were a mere pit stop
to something bigger in life.
She smiled her fragile smile to me,
across the miles of time,
and asked me not of fame or gain,
but if I was one with what dwelt inside.
As I return to her fragrance of flowers,
a child again, but now full of scars,
I find her waiting, still & wide,
ready to gift me back to myself.
Hear this poem on the podcast ‘Uncut Poetry’ here –https://www.podbean.com/eu/pb-4s7xb-ec3b7a