Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Pause for Poetry

Don't know why. I guess thinking about Maya Angelou did it. Got me thinking about poetry again. I have a poem framed, on my bedroom wall. My youngest, Kitty, wrote it for me in 2003.

How to Write a Poem for Your Mother

First, create many unsuccessful drafts.

follow ideas into oblivion,
metaphors into cliche hums and mumbles.
Next, check your email.
Read your new messages but don't answer any.
Sing rainy day songs she taught you.
Wish in pass
ing that you could whistle.
Wonder if it's her fault you can't.
Plant marigold seeds in the rain like she would.
Bring the open seed
packet close to your face and sniff.
Know it smells like her.

Open and close your journal several times.
Write the date on a page then decide to change pens.
Look at a calendar to find out exactly when Mother's Day is this year.
Re-read all the starts to poems you've begun for her in the past -
they talk about fireflies and butterflies, Tagore and Milne.
Find potential in wings and words and light and flight.
Decide having potential is like being told you are "nice".
Convince yourself you're washed up as a poet.
Spend time wallowing in this thought.
Pull the covers over your head and sleep.
Dream you are wi
th her
walking arm in arm
through beautiful grey Budapest.

I love my poem.

I guess it sort of explains the marigolds I have started to use as my profile picture when I got tire
d of looking at my own face. We did spend some time together in beautiful Budapest in the spring of 1995. I have no picture of us together there. I do not look particularly happy in this one. Maybe the sun was in my eyes.

Kitty was teaching English as a second language to students at a gymnasium in a little town called Veszprem, near Budapest. The girl has always amazed me. She arrived there not knowing a word of Hungarian.
Learned it fairly
rapidly. (Well, she had to know how to ask for potatoes in the market, and how to ask for ice cream. And only a couple of the teachers on the staff had any English at all.)

She learned to love the kids she was teaching that year, and I'm sure they loved her too. She also battled the local folks at city hall until she got to help the kids in cleaning up the graffiti and painting a mural in a pedestrian tunnel in town. That took some doing! Fighting city hall is the same world over I guess.

She isn't in the pictures. she was behind the camera.

I hope she didn't waste too much time with the covers pulled over her head. I do think she is a wonderful poet. And a prolific one.I wish that I could publish more of her work here, but that could compromise her chances of publishing elsewhere.

Well, enough of this for today.


Anonymous said...

Great poem. No wonder you have it framed.

pink dogwood said...

beautiful post - I agree she is a wonderful poet

Hey Harriet said...

What an amazing poem. Her writing is certainly worthy of being published! I love that you framed it. I've never thought of framing poetry. I've never received such a lovely poem written for me though!

Sylvia K said...

I love her poem! Sounds as though she is definitely a reflection of her mother. What a lovely post! Thanks for sharing it.

kenju said...

A wonderful poem, BObbie, and I know you treasure it. Budapest appears to be a gorgeous city. I can't believe she went there knowing none of their language!

Daryl said...

Like mother, like daughter .. two terrific human beans!


Anonymous said...

Bobbie, I put a response to your comment on my recent Christmas Tree post, but thought I would say it here, too, in case you don't see the other. The Canadian tree was one that was deemed to be "near the end of it's natural life cycle" - don't know about the U.S. tree. I myself haven't had a real tree since the 70s. Christine at QuietPaths pointed out that a letter-writing campaign might be a good way to get the government to change this live tree practice. FireAnt mentioned a permanent, planted tree that gets decorated each year. I like that idea!

Webradio said...

This poem is very great...

me ann my camera said...

I think it sometimes is too big a subject, there are not enough words to encompass the feeling and belonging and connections,love and respect between some mothers and daughters. And sometimes, somehow, the thoughts connect and the words become unnecessary to be spoken or written. This was a touching poem. A lovely post.

How wonderful that you visited your daughter when she was in Budapest. I regret that I did not do so when my son was teaching English in South Korea.

Marla said...

Great peom! I would have framed it too!

Dianne said...

I want to hug her :)

dianasfaria.com said...

I missed visiting the last few days Bobbie. Glad I got a chance to finally catch up.
I love your poem too!
& Dave's post is so right on the mark! thanks for the tip off.

dianasfaria.com said...

Marigolds are one of my favorite flowers.

bobbie said...

Me too, Dianne.

Linda Murphy said...

What a lovely poem and how fitting to have it framed-I imagine it must be one of your best treasures.

Encourage the writing and hopefully we will be reading her poetry compilations in the future!

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful poem and lovely, interesting post... you are justifiably proud and I'm so glad that you shared. ~ Deb