Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Face In the Mirror

Florence "Floss" Fitzsimmons,
one of the farm girls in her area
to ride for pleasure
and Monte

For years, I have been watching
my grandmother's face
emerging before me
in my mirror.
My grandmother's eyes
are looking out of my face.
They know me.

I remember walking beside her,
as a child, in the cemetery, 
when her thoughts were on dying,
when she said how peaceful
it was there,
and how angry I was,
that she could even think
of leaving me.

She did, years later,
and I assisted that passage,
one solitary tear 
rolling down her cheek,
when I thanked her
for all the love.

She visited me,
on my way home
from the funeral,
Galway Bay tinkling in
one side of my head and out the other,
as I quickly thought: 
"Bye, Grandma, I love you",
as the notes tinkled out and away.

Then came the years 
when an elfin granddaughter
walked beside me, looking up
and I was the grandmother
in my turn,
and that vast peaceful knowing
that lived in my grandmother's heart
came to reside within me.

I think about 
the love and connection
in that long line
of strong women
who walked here before me,
and the line of strong women 
who will walk here behind me,
for the circle of love
that is endless,
for the cycle of life
that keeps turning and turning,
one grandmother out,
one granddaughter in,
footsteps following footsteps,
heart upon heart,
all the way Home. 

Kids, this is adapted from a poem I wrote earlier, called The Grandmother Song. I took it in a new direction and re-wrote it for Susan's prompt at Mid-Week Motif: Mirrors. It was either this or a rant by Wild Woman about caricatures (which I actually might have rather enjoyed. I may still do it! Cackle.)


It is all there,
jowls and Terrible Hair
and bald eyelids:
Wild Woman as Caricature
of her younger self.

It is a travesty of justice
one can do nothing about.
The Court of Last Appeal
is one she is not ready to visit
just yet.

Wild Woman favors soft lighting
and cheval glass.
With an image
all beveled and warped,
she gains a much softer,
gentler perspective
on what exactly age does
to the aging.
She pretends
it is the Fun Mirror
at the circus,
and laughs just the way
that she did then,
at the reflected image.

She is okay with it,
because she is
still breathing.
And cackling.
And, blessedly,
she doesnt really care,
any more,
so she doesnt need
to look in mirrors
very often .
Only to make sure
her eyes
still line up.


  1. Thanks for the double treat, Sherry. I like the epic "The face in the mirror" partly because parts of it are my own experience. I like the cycle of grandmother/granddaughter after meeting the eyes that know you. Those eyes return in the wild woman poem to paint on layers of imagination and to line up. Beautiful records of change and love.

  2. 'The Face...' is an extremely beautiful poem, mom! I shed some sorrowful tears that turned to joy!

  3. I like how seeing yourself in the mirror triggers a reflection on your grandmother, the other strong women in your family and the succession of generations, Sherry!

  4. Love this. Your honing your craft to new levels of amazing my friend.

  5. Two beautiful poems..perhaps a strong sense of self and belonging enables you to yourself and the world? something to strive for certainly..

  6. ha. i like your double dip...the first one is touching...true in how we take on the face of our kin...and see them...and become them in many ways...a touching bit too in the cemetery...i have an affinity there and know the peace she talks about....

    always keep cackling wild woman...ha....

  7. footsteps following footsteps - Love this that feeling that all is carried on in the hopes and dreams of the ones we love. Noting is lost forever, Beautifully done

  8. I will comment for the earlier one first,
    Tender writing. The transformation from being a granddaughter to a grandmother yourself... that journey of wisdom and understanding is so precious... beautiful sentiments and wonderfully written.

    Now for the second one,
    Despite of the humorous tone to it, I found your words reflecting her sadness. She doesn't care anymore... what can be more sad than that. Well-penned. Great character sketch.

  9. Just keep letting your beautiful soul shine and aging has no power over you.

  10. How wonderful really that you recollect such good memories of your grandmother when you look in the mirror. I do wish I had known my grandmother better before she died. I was waaaay too young. I do hope to be that 'strong grandmother' for my grandchildren.

  11. grandmas are great, in my book :) ~

  12. Wow ! Double treat ! The first one is so serene.. brought tears in my eyes...almost..


  13. I loved the original and totally relate to the adaptation you share today. Like you, I am becoming reacquainted with my grandmother's face in my own mirror. Some days this reality brings joy. Others, a sigh of resignation!

  14. I am so pleased to hear your eyes still line keep checking to make sure your nose hasn't fallen off:)

    Your Grandma in the pic was a real beauty.
    The cycle of life is amazing.Hopefully your granddaughter will be writing poems about you one day in the future.

  15. You're too much Sherry. The first poem -so serious, almost brought tears to my eyes. The second - so hilarious.
    You are a truly talented lady. I'm so glad that you can take yourself seriously and laugh at yourself too. I need to learn that.

  16. Lovely photo. Lovely portrait of grandmothers.
    My mother waited to die until a month after my niece Jodi's daughter was born. She looked fine the day we went to the hospital to meet wee Mya, and a month later she was gone.
    Grandmothers can do anything they put their minds to.
    Love, K

  17. two great poems for the price of one... :) when your young you don't know about the cycle of life... but as you grow it becomes clearer...

  18. wonderful! a brilliant write dear Sherry. it's always a treat - coming to your blog.

  19. multifaceted mirror and brilliant reflections...all
    those beautiful words fill the heart... :)

  20. ...age weren't just about digits... it was more an attitude that we possessed everyday... smiles...your double treats are double + like.... smiles....

  21. Circle of love...cycle of life...beautifully Sherry...really touching. And the second was so witty, I smiled through it...who cares...if you're still breathing and cackling :) loved the attitude!

  22. The circule of love continues on & on, from one grandmother to another granddaughter ~ I love it Sherry ~

  23. Love the circle of love in first poem. ..Laughing on the last 2 lines of second one...~ Much Love, Sherry :)xx

  24. Sherry,

    Thank you for your double perspective with this poetry prompt.
    I really enjoyed that emotional review of the life of your Irish grandmother. Waht a beautiful tribute to remember her strong influence upon you:)
    Then that self-examination of The Wild Woman, many of us might already recognise. Fantastically honest, humurous and reflective:)
    Enjoyed your superb offerings Sherry,
    I am just home from a week in France...Missed writing!!!

  25. Beautiful and hilarious.
    Sherry Grandmothers leave an indelible print that we can only hope to mirror. Thanks for reminding us.
    Dare I look into cracked glass today I will see - oh I'd better not look ;)

  26. Two tunes and i find they sync well. yep its a circle of love and life...and you need mirrors only to line up your eyes :)

  27. I love the strength and support from generation to generation in your poem and what must have truly been in real life.

  28. The first poem about grandmothers and granddaughters was so very beautiful and I had to laugh at the second poem, love the idea of the mirror being one from the circus.


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