Saturday, May 10, 2008

This One Goes Out to All the Moms Out There

I read this poem yesterday with my AP classes. They grabbed right on to its message and meaning and we talked for a while about our mothers, rather than worrying about that silly old test coming up on Wednesday. "My Mother on an Evening in Late Summer" by Mark Strand is flawless in its imagery, yes, but more importantly I love how that imagery fuels the message: when mothers give up the greater part of their lives for their children, how do they ever go back? The answer, of course, is that they cannot and I wonder that they ever would.

This is to say "thanks" to my mommy and all the other mothers in the world who give themselves up for the lives of their children. It is the one great and selfless act I admire most in this world.

My Mother on an Evening in Late Summer
by Mark Strand


When the moon appears
and a few wind-stricken barns stand out
in the low-domed hills
and shine with a light
that is veiled and dust-filled
and that floats upon the fields,
my mother, with her hair in a bun,
her face in shadow, and the smoke
from her cigarette coiling close
to the faint yellow sheen of her dress,
stands near the house
and watches the seepage of late light
down through the sedges,
the last gray islands of cloud
taken from view, and the wind
ruffling the moon's ash-colored coat
on the black bay.


Soon the house, with its shades drawn closed, will send
small carpets of lampglow
into the haze and the bay
will begin its loud heaving
and the pines, frayed finials
climbing the hill, will seem to graze
the dim cinders of heaven.
And my mother will stare into the starlanes,
the endless tunnels of nothing,
and as she gazes,
under the hour's spell,
she will think how we yield each night
to the soundless storms of decay
that tear at the folding flesh,
and she will not know
why she is here
or what she is prisoner of
if not the conditions of love that brought her to this.


My mother will go indoors
and the fields, the bare stones
will drift in peace, small creatures --
the mouse and the swift -- will sleep
at opposite ends of the house.
Only the cricket will be up,
repeating its one shrill note
to the rotten boards of the porch,
to the rusted screens, to the air, to the rimless dark,
to the sea that keeps to itself.
Why should my mother awake?
The earth is not yet a garden
about to be turned. The stars
are not yet bells that ring
at night for the lost.
It is much too late.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!
I love you and am so grateful for everything you are and have ever been in my life.


Adele said...

Thank you, my dearest favorite in your category. I cried tears of joy. You are my blessing in life. You are my angel child. I love you.

Alice said...

The sacrifice of mothers is truly amazing. Great Poem, yay for mothers.

Stine said...

Me too mommy. Great poem B.

Jen said...

Lovely. Lovely, lovely, lovely.