posted on March 28 2019
When is the last time you picked up a book about poetry? With Mother’s Day here in the UK just around the corner, we started thinking about how to express what motherhood means both as mums and daughters. We know love is complicated, layered, intense and sometimes absent. But it’s also personal. And words often feel flat in comparison with the hold this relationship has in my heart.
Between my mum and me there are certain books that we can’t read without bursting into tears. Like I Love you Forever by Robert Mausch, where the cycle of life is so beautifully told. Turns out Robert used the song in this book as a way to mourn two stillborn babies he and his wife grieved. And one day a story around the song spilled out of him. These stories about how time ticks on and we’re only young for a brief time and eventually all good things come to an end is so moving because it’s so true.
Recently we came across a poem that sums up beautifully the tug in our heart and wanted to share it with you here. Because sometimes simple words aren’t enough and poems really are:
by Ada Limón
When the doctor suggested surgery
and a brace for all my youngest years,
my parents scrambled to take me
to massage therapy, deep tissue work,
osteopathy, and soon my crooked spine
unspooled a bit, I could breathe again,
and move more in a body unclouded
by pain. My mom would tell me to sing
songs to her the whole forty-five minute
drive to Middle Two Rock Road and forty-
five minutes back from physical therapy.
She’d say, even my voice sounded unfettered
by my spine afterward. So I sang and sang,
because I thought she liked it. I never
asked her what she gave up to drive me,
or how her day was before this chore. Today,
at her age, I was driving myself home from yet
another spine appointment, singing along
to some maudlin but solid song on the radio,
and I saw a mom take her raincoat off
and give it to her young daughter when
a storm took over the afternoon. My god,
I thought, my whole life I’ve been under her
raincoat thinking it was somehow a marvel
that I never got wet.
“The Raincoat” is from The Carrying by Ada Limón.
The two people who bring meaning to the word raincoat in my life.