Thursday, 18 May 2006

earliest memory

earliest memory

My mother pushes the pram through
a forest of broom
to more solid, roadside shingle.

Had she taken a shortcut
and got us lost? Remembering back
yields my only clues: how tall

my mother was, how breathless
with laughter and how soft
the broom, as soft as the empty fingers

of gloves, the flowers as yellow
as near suns, their perfume as elusive
as the smell of moths.





The photo is of my mother when she was young - and as another poem of mine about her says, 'unencumbered'. It was taken when she had bright, wavy, red hair.
In a span of ten years, she had seven children - three boys and four girls. I was her first and the reason she had to get married! However, it was a happy marriage, until my father died suddenly when I was fifteen.
This left her a thirty-eight year old widow.
She knew none of this was ahead of her when this photo was taken of her down at the beach on a sunny day and in her best dress.
My brave, strong and resilient mother turns 76 this year. Her red hair has been replaced with a head of snowy white hair; a little thin on the top (which her daughters are a little nervous about ... inherited traits?) She is as full of energy and fun as ever.
We love you Mum!

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your poem is wonderful. I can feel the softness of the gloves and smell the warmth of the sun.

Your Mother sounds remarkable. I can only imagine how hard it was to raise so many children as a young widow. Yet, here she is later, still kicking and having fun!

Anonymous said...

Yes we love our mum...probably dont tell her often enough....I shall have to ring her before we go on leave to do the "just in case" phone call :)

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful homage and a splendid memory!

Anonymous said...

Ooh, wonderful poem and I love the photo of your mother. "as soft as the empty fingers of gloves"...that's a wonderful phrase.

Anonymous said...

Lovely poem and photo of your mom. So touching! Thanks for sharing your story.

Anonymous said...

Very nice.

Anonymous said...

I agree, "...as soft as the empty fingers of gloves..." is just lovely. Your mother sounds like a resilient woman, and a great role model. Thanks for sharing your story and your poem.

Anonymous said...

I've never thought about "the smell of moths" before. Lovely images.

Anonymous said...

Your poem about your mother brought such vivid pictures...how lovely it is.

Kay Cooke said...

Bogart - Thanks my friend. Yes, she is something my Mum.

McD - She's more precious the more we realise she won't be around forever - our Mum-the-eagle!

Mapiprincesa - Thanks it's the least I could do for a Mum who has done so much for me and my brothers and sisters.

DebR - Thanks. I love the photo too - it's one of my very favs.

paris parfait - Thanks. It's a pleasure!

Belle - Thanks, you're a pal! :)

January - Thanks. Mum is certainly resilient and has taught me to be the same.

Catherine - Thanks - your comments are encouraging ...

J Valentine - Thanks - enjoyed reading your poems too!

Anonymous said...

what a beautiful photograph of your mother...
and your words...such beauty there as well. you are teaching me about poetry each time i come here. thank you.

Anonymous said...

I love the "soft as the empty fingers" and the immediate break. this is a wonderful poem, thank you. i love old photographs, and i enjoy the story about the pic of your mother. i'm working on a poem right now about a negative i found in an old book. John Berger, in a book called "Ways of Seeing" said:

"A photograph, whilst recording what has been seen, always and by its nature refers to what is not seen."

as such, a photo is a lovely prompt for a poem...

Anonymous said...
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Kay Cooke said...

Liz Elayne - Thanks - that's so encouraging!

Susie - Thanks you - it's great to get feedback - and positive feedback's even better! Love your blog - just popped over for a visit :)

Anonymous said...

Michelle's poetry response to your poem in Poetry Thursday led me here. What a moving, quiet piece.

Anonymous said...

This is great-wonderful poem.

Anonymous said...

I like the poem, too, and the photo. I particularly like your observation that she knew nothing of what was ahead for her when the photo was taken. Simple and obvious, yet profound and haunting, too.

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