Monday, April 24, 2006

Monday, 24 April 2006 - Happy Birthday, Mom

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for my mother who is celebrating her 81st birthday.

My mother is a poem
I'll never be able to write,
though everything I write
is a poem to my mother.

~Sharon Doubiago

Below is the poem I wrote to commemorate Mom's 80th birthday (last year). I had planned to read it tonight at a local poetry reading, but winter weather has settled in and I don't want to venture out in the cold. So, I'll share it here. Note that, although the poem expresses my intentions, it captures my mother's spirit and energy.

When I am sixty,
I will ride my bike very carefully
Along the ancient cobblestone path
That leads to the local
Farmers’ Market where
I’ll buy fresh ingredients for
Tonight’s dinner.
This will be my morning routine
In Vence, France,
A tiny medieval village
Where Matisse built his chapel.
I’ll visit favorite vendors,
The ones who already know how
Picky I am and won’t become
Too impatient while I choose
The perfect herbs,
The ripest tomatoes, and
The sweetest fruit.
Shopping finished,
My bike heavy with parcels,
I’ll return to our cottage,
To begin sorting, cleaning and
Preparing my culinary treasures.
My husband is very busy,
Making phone calls,
Conducting meetings and
Sending emails to associates.
He’s looking forward to his daily bike ride
Along the back roads and
A casual dinner on the terrace.
The dog sleeps peacefully near the
Grove of mature fruit trees.
Our first Provence summer.
All is calm. All is bright.
I’ve been alive for six decades,
Yet, I am just beginning to
Live fully.
By early afternoon,
Lavender and rose scented air
Will blow gently through my studio
As I sit at the computer,
Writing and editing
A new poem.

When I am seventy,
I will stroll along the beach
On lazy summer mornings
To collect scallop shells
And kelp bulbs
And sea glass.
I’ll walk barefoot through the surf,
Happily anticipating the
The wet sand’s squish and
The cold water’s sting.
The dog, a chocolate Lab,
Will run ahead of me,
Chasing flocks of birds
Before pausing to sniff
A mound of rotting seaweed.
I’ll wear
A straw hat with a
Wide, floppy brim,
And a gauzy cotton shirt
Over comfortable white capris.
I won’t forget the sunscreen
Or bottled water
Or sunglasses
Or dog treats.
I’ll hum a tune that
Harmonizes with the
Tide’s steady rhythm.
As the sun’s heat intensifies,
I’ll gulp the cool breeze
And sip the salty air
Until one obnoxious sea gull
Reminds me that
It’s time to go home.
My husband should be back from
His daily bike ride along the coast.
And, I still have
A million things to do,
Places to visit,
People to see,
And, gratefully,
Time to spend.

When I am eighty,
I will climb the mountain
That rises five thousand feet above the
Cabin we call home.
I’ll visit the Columbine garden growing
Near the massive gray boulder
That sits about twenty yards
East of the secluded beaver pond.
I’ll hike slowly along
This familiar path until the
Sun reaches its highest point,
My signal to turn around
And head for home.
On the return trip,
I’ll think about
The book I am writing,
Ideas for a new poem, and
The chores I neglected this morning.
I’ll stop in the meadow
To pick a large wildflower bouquet
For the kitchen table and
To inspect the thicket of
Ripening raspberries.
That evening,
As we relax on the front porch,
We’ll marvel at the
Glorious sunset and
Toast day’s end
With glasses of
Homemade lemonade.
We’ll be three companions,
Husband, wife and Labrador retriever son,
Three adventurers who found
Their rainbow’s end
On a Colorado mountain.
I’ll feel extraordinarily blessed,
Tired in a good way,
Grateful to be alive, and
Joyous in the peace
Of all things.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


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