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.