Tag Archives: mother

Hugging the void

In the space between my arms
no lover lies

In the space between my arms
no mother confides

In the space between my arms
no child smiles

In the space between my arms
the universe resides

I hug the void
but it shall not embrace me

Double helix

guanine

Genetic code
your gift to me
arranged by spindles
woven to a whole

GTCACTGATAGC

thymine

Though genes alone
are never enough
to explain what defines me
indelibly your daughter

GTCACTGATAGC

cytosine

Created from you
though my eyes be green
yours deepest brown
can a smile be found in our DNA?

GTCACTGATAGC

adenine

Absent now
your double helix
dances still
your gift to me

GTCACTGATAGC

The moment of loss

I thought I would share with you, dear reader, the reworked poem Vigil, in a previous life known as You leave again. Initially the idea was to explore the notion of repeated loss relating to one individual – in my case, my mother. However, I felt that the original version of the poem did not convey this adequately and the agenda was overtaken by the power of the moment of death. Since I don’t have sufficient skill to tackle both subjects successfully in the one poem I edited You leave again to focus on the days leading up to her death. However, I hope that Vigil still indicates that grief is coloured by our previous experiences. And so, the 29 year old woman finally holding her mother’s hand is also the 8 year old child who watched as her mother left – suitcase in hand. She is simultaneously woman and girl and at the moment of her mother’s death feels forsaken, longing for the comfort of her mother. But the mother, too, is the small bereft child – the adult daughter recognising her mother’s grief – a moment of understanding. Writing this poem has been absorbing. It has taught me much – allowed me to reflect, to ponder. In focussing on my overwhelming desire to hold my mother’s hand, the poem also points to the need to feel connected. To feel as one with her as she died in a way that perhaps I couldn’t when she was alive – despite our intense love and friendship. Perhaps that 8 year old child in me was frightened to get too close to her lest she disappear again – but held her hand as she sat and watched her die.

Vigil

I cannot hold your hand

I sit beside your bed   tubes   machines   monitors
All so familiar   but you are not
Your bloated face is not the one I crave
Your sparkling eyes closed   your voice silenced

Grown woman    young girl
The girl you left   the woman you leave
A small child   bereft   longing
Contained in a woman’s body

I cannot hold your hand

Left swathed in bandages   white as the skin inside your wrist
De-gloved the morbid medical term for your injury
In your right    an arterial line shouts you are alive

The grown small woman child
The girl you left   the woman you leave

Days pass   a seated vigil   remembrance
I speak to you   your eyes are closed
Face a mask   I cannot hold your hand
There is only hope    there is none    I hope

I sit and hold your foot     you would scream
Laugh   kick me away   if you could

The phone rang incessantly
There were only two calls
With the second ring
Your pupil   fixed   dilated

I scream and sob and run and cry and I cannot hold your hand
You are having a CT scan and I cannot hold your hand
Your skull can no longer contain your precious mind
You are dying   you are dead but for machines

I cannot hold your hand

The grown small woman child
The girl you left   the woman you leave

I cannot hold your hand and you are dying
I say fuck the arterial line
Bandages   white as the skin inside your wrist
I am touching it now

I am holding your hand

You leave again

This poem has taken weeks to write and has been fairly mercilessly edited for the past few days. It will most likely require more editing but, for now, I’m fairly happy with it. It is raw and emotional. I make no apology.

 

You leave again

The phone rang a second time   and with it I lost you
Finally, irrevocably gone   you had not left yet
You had left before   it would not be the last time

With its first ring   the last Act but one began
Did this penultimate Act begin with that first ring?
Or before?  When I lost you again
A Mobius strip

The phone rang incessantly
There were only two calls

I cannot hold your hand

Grown woman    young girl
The girl you left   the woman you leave
A small child   bereft   longing
Contained in a woman’s body

I sit beside your bed   tubes   machines   monitors
All so familiar   but you are not
Your bloated face is not that of the mother I crave
Your sparkling eyes are closed   your voice silenced
Tenacious   you are still here

I cannot hold your hand

Left swaddled in bandages   white as the skin inside your wrist
De-gloved the morbid medical term for your injury
The arterial line in your right wrist    tells me you are alive

I cannot hold your hand

The grown small woman child
The girl you left   the woman you leave

Days pass   a seated vigil   a remembrance
I speak to you   but your eyes are closed
Face a mask   I cannot hold your hand
There is only hope    there is none    I hope
I sit and hold your foot   and know that you would scream
Laugh and kick me away   if you could

The phone rings for a second time
Your pupil is fixed   dilated
I scream and sob and run and cry and I cannot hold your hand
You are having a CT scan and I cannot hold your hand
Your skull can no longer contain your precious mind
Escaping blood

I cannot hold your hand

You are dying   you are dead but for machines

I cannot hold your hand

The grown small woman child
The girl you left   the woman you leave

You stood there with your bag packed   you left
Did I say goodbye?  Did you?
A small child   bereft   longing
Did I say goodbye?  Did you?

I cannot hold your hand and you are dying

I say fuck your arterial line
Bandages   white as the skin inside your wrist
I am touching it now

I am holding your hand

Wirrawilla

I visited you today
Mum
In that dark and ancient place

 

The creek is running swiftly now
Full of Winter’s rain
I wonder what remains

of You there, as I

Stand upon the bridge, where once so long ago
You were swallowed by the flow

 

You would have laughed today
Mum
To see me dressed so
Two dresses, black of course
Jacket of pistachio green

stockinged feet, encased

By gumboots, bought in haste

 

You would have held me
Mum
And comforted me as I cried
For losses old and

fresh and new

And pondered hopes that died

 

You would have smiled though
Mum
And waved goodbye
As I dried my eyes and

changed my shoes

And bid you farewell once more