Sunday, June 16, 2013
Happy Father's Day, Mom!
Today is a tribute to fathers, in the Poets United Poetry Pantry, and I was a bit stumped about what I would write. I withdrew from my dad in childhood, because I couldnt stand the drinking and the violence. He died when I was thirteen. Decades later, I understand addiction better, and also recognize he was much more than his addiction. But any father's day poem I could honestly write would be a downer.
Then I read Nene's poem at Life Whispers, wishing his mother a happy Father's Day, and I went aha! My mom raised us after my dad died. She worked hard and struggled greatly, but she never gave up. More than that, when I was a single mom of four small kids, she pitched in and helped me raise them. I cant tell you how many times I'd open a letter and find a hundred dollars inside that totally saved our lives. So yes, I am able to write a father's day poem after all - for my mom!
You were Rosie the Riveter during the war.
Then a hairdresser.
Then a wife and a mom,
a secretary, then a realtor.
Weekends, you got tossed around the living room.
Mondays you would try to hide the bruises.
At breakfast the shrieks and crashes
of the night before
were never - ever - mentioned.
You grieved when he died,
but you kept on going.
Got a better job,
walked on your painful legs full of varicose veins
to work every day, kept on walking
to bigger and better jobs,
all the way to the Attorney General's department.
You achieved a semblance
of security in your life,
but never deep happiness.
You married twice,
but loved only once.
I had my memories of terror,
my shrinking from loud voices and anger.
It took me too long to recognize the heroic effort
you made to just keep moving forward
through those same years.
When I made that same trek, later,
You were so tired, always,
your groan of relief and pleasure
could be heard throughout the house when,
right after supper, you'd go to bed
with your crime magazines:
"The moment I've waited for all day!"
Sometimes I'd pass you in the hall,
with a stack of buttered soda crackers
in one hand.
I think of you every time I butter
my own stack of crackers
and retire with my book.
I sometimes give that same loud groan.
I think of you then.
How tired you must have been,
for I know how tired I am now.
So tired, yet kids and grandkids
still need help
though the physical and financial resources
are so depleted.
Somehow, me and you,
we still manage to come through.
I dont think I ever really
thanked you properly,
for all that help.
I'm thanking you now, Mom,
for being there when
the kids' fathers
And for showing me that Can Do attitude
that got me through my own rough patches,
and that my daughters have inherited,
along with the family cackle
and the huge, depthful true-blue eyes.
Mother's and Father's Days -
they both belong to you.