Wednesday, September 21, 2011


My time seems to be taken up with poetry lately. After years of nothing they are pouring forth. This poem is in response to a prompt from Margo Roby's poetry site.... something from an ancestor in their voice.

The first thing I thought of was my mother's diaries. Well, hardly diaries, more small books in which she wrote detailed lists in tiny writing of all she had to do. They are precious to me and it is probably time for me to read them again. If one reads lists in any true sense.

In many ways they reflect her life so accurately. She was a Virgo, but suffered from anxiety and depression and lived in so many ways a small, cramped, measured life. In her forties she developed rheumatoid arthritis which limited her even more.

She often said that she wished she could have been a nun but the arthritis prevented that. It is not that she was particularly religious or spiritual because she wasn't but I think it was the hermetic nature of the life which appealed to her. As it was, she was 56 when my father died and because of her nature and the arthritis she did end up living something approximating a monastic existence for the last 24 years of her life ... albeit mostly in an institution.

Do we create what we believe or desire or do we know what we have chosen in this lifetime? Perhaps a bit of both.

My mother's diary

In tiny shreds of writing,
I offered up my words,
in lists inconsequential,
of what I had to do.
Buy soap. Wash hair.
Post birthday card.
Cut nails and iron dress.
Write letter to my sister.
Soak underwear tonight.
In pencilled, leaded
offering, I wrote it down
to last, that I would be
remembered; that you
would know my past.


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