Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Allusions in “For Mama Who Loved Words”

For Mama Who Loved Words

Long before your shrill panting breath ceased
Words whispered and stuttered, then died.

Frost’s ice storm should have pelted windows,
Coated trees, bent them as low as my wounded heart.
You should have ridden that tree into Spring,
Rising quick--heavenward, into Infinite Love.

Instead, on the night of your passing,
Folks kept to their calendars, their Friday night lights.
It was Dickinson’s ordinary night--except, of course,
The dying, undertaken alone--the rest of us free to come, to go
With soft footfall, stepping to the rhythms of machine and pulse

Your sights, dear Mama, an undiscovered country,
Your thoughts undisclosed, gripped first by aphasia, now death so near.
In solitude, we travel to an unknown, our place of origin,
Tennyson’s depths, beyond the bar, beyond breath, beyond touch.

May my words by Wordsworthy, drawing comfort
From this Prelude to my own passing and another beginning
Where others shall not grieve--as I do not.

My solace is in what remains, in memories
Of a woman, tiny, as I, eager to go, let myself be held
In her arms, in her silence, where she spoke of 
Love. Of gratitude. Of raw need.

In that embrace, I feel them all. I feel them still, here, now.
And in them I remember her sharp intakes of breath, the
Sound of recognition in a poet’s truth laid bare on the page.

This is her legacy, her last will and testament:
Lightning flashes upon a dark landscape
Where she is no more.

By Connye, A Daughter, October 7, 2016

Reading Challenge:

Read the hyperlinked poems to understand the allusions to works that have gone before, honed and perfected by four of poetry’s masters.

Writing Challenge:

Explain how one of the four poems alluded to in “For Mama Who Loved Words” functions.