For My Mother

April 17: Nocturne: Tiny Now

She is tiny now, my mother

and jokes in the morning, when

her teeth aren’t in, how she whistles

like a little bird. And i want to reach

back to the nights when

she brought the piglets in

laid them in the woodstove oven

so tiny, but she believed in them

and in that warm cradle, the spark

of life rekindled in them. How

do i cradle her? now

she is so tiny, softly

drawing nearer to

the Western Door.

This poem won’t do it.

This poem is for me

a piglet grown, with

my snout astonished

at discovery, how the power

that built a world for me still

reveals itself, blue

slight, soft, tiny.


My mother went home to God on May the 5th. I was honoured to be with her then, to recite for her the prayers she loved. One day, it will be time to write about all the sublime, ridiculous, painful and hilarious moments that attended her death and funeral; for now, enough to say that I suppose the same is true in most any community – death brings people together and drives them apart. In crisis, people are revealed in our frailties and in our astonishing strengths.

My mother loved to garden, and went there habitually; it was her place and way for dealing with the burdens of a challenging life. We were poor, and we were rich, depending who was looking at us. We were happy, and we were miserable. We were blessed and cursed, ill and whole; we were a family. We remain a family, though so profoundly changed now that she is gone.

She left all of us with many gifts and lessons, and time will unfold those in various ways. As for me, for now, the best I can do is go to the garden.


13 Comments Add yours

  1. robert okaji says:

    Reblogged this on O at the Edges and commented:
    Anna Marie Sewell rips open the morning with this poem. Perhaps we should all tend the garden.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. lorriebowden says:

    Ugh! Robert…my heart is with you. What a beautiful ode to your Mom! Thank you for sharing this most painful time. My own Mother just moved into the condo next door to me…I am her caretaker. Your words particularly touched me at this time. Sweet blessings to you ❤


  3. merrildsmith says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Beautiful poem. I agree with Robert–though in my case, the afternoon.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. nananoyz says:

    Wishing WordPress offered a LOVE button. Beautiful!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Came over from Robert’s site to this wonderful poem. Thanks to both of you!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. prairiepomes says:

    Thanks for the reblog, friend.


  7. willowwrites says:

    such a lovely tribute!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. rothpoetry says:

    I really love the feeling and power of this poem!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. A very beautiful tribute. And one that many of us can relate to. (My mom passed last year.) My condolences to you and yours.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Mary-Ann says:

    Anna Marie, your words touched my soul this morning. My mom is gone too. A year and a half already, but it feels like yesterday. I can still hear her first-of-the-morning gravelly voice of our daily calls and when I would ask her if she was ok she would reply, “Oh yes! I just have not sung yet today!”. A little bird out gardening; panacea of the soul. Love you

    Liked by 3 people

    1. prairiepomes says:

      Love you, too, friend, and have been thinking of you, reflecting on your grace and dignity over your mom’s passing.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. sydney says:

    A moving and deeply loving tribute. So many things ring true here for me as well: how tiny and frail my mother was before she passed (also in May, but late in the month 13 years ago), her love of the garden, the way being outside and digging in the dirt after she died was a balm and a record and an escape. Thank you, friend.


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