Poets' Corner: Two From Rosemerry For Mother’s Day

Editor’s note: Internet research came up with the history of Mother’s Day.

mother's day

The tribute was first suggested in 1872 by Julia Ward Howe (who wrote the words to the “Battle Hymn of the Republic”) as a day dedicated to peace.

In 1907, Philadelphian Ana Jarvis began a campaign to establish a national Mother’s Day. She persuaded her mother’s church in Grafton, W.V. to celebrate Mother’s Day on the second anniversary of her mother’s death, the second Sunday of May.

After establishing Mother’s Day in Philadelphia, Ana Jarvis and her supporters wrote to ministers, businessman, and politicians around the U.S. promoting the idea of a national Mother’s Day. They were successful, and by 1911 Mother’s Day was celebrated in almost every state. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Mother’s Day a national holiday.

Some countries, including Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Italy, and Turkey, also celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May. But other countries of the world celebrate their own Mother’s Day at different times throughout the year. In the U.K., “Mothering Sunday” is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent. Traditionally on Mothering Sunday, servants were encouraged to spend the day with their mothers, taking a special “mothering cake” as a tribute.

Mothering cakes. Flowers. Chocolate. Things in big boxes. Things in small boxes (even better).

Telluride Inside… and Out offers a simple tribute in the form of two poignant poems by our Word Woman, Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer.

Wordwoman Rosemerry Trommer, by Darby Ullyat

Wordwoman Rosemerry Trommer, by Darby Ullyat

And a word to the wise…

Mark your calendars for next weekend’s inaugural Telluride Literary Festival. (Click here for a full schedule of events and/or see Related Post on TIO.) Award-winning author Pam Houston will be in town and Rosemerry and four other talented women writers – Amy Irvine McHarg, Kierstin Bridger, Sarah Gilman, Ellen Marie Metrick –are featured in a wild and crazy evening of “Literary Burlesque.” With emcee author Craig Childs, the ladies perform intensely vulnerable and revealing poetry, a removing of layers through words, costumes, and projected imagery. Be at Ah Haa Friday, May 16, 8 p.m.

 

“Our losses and wonders slip from our lips like clouds..."

“Our losses and wonders slip from our lips like clouds…”

In the Wing of the Nursing Home

Mom picks over the blues to find

 

the barely discernable line

where sky meets clouds. I push

 

around the reds of the Indian Paintbrush.

She slides me an odd-shaped piece,

mostly green, with the tiniest ruby tip.

 

Those, she says, are often the hardest

to find, but make the biggest difference.

We have done this for decades, traded

 

tessellating bits of flowers or castles

or horses or sky. We have interlocked

the bodies of wolves and assembled

 

mountains and rivers, all the while chatting back

and forth about whatever subjects rise—

which is often something falling apart,

 

a dream unmet, a breaking heart.

We always begin with the straight edges,

creating the puzzle’s frame. Perhaps

 

it’s a comforting pretense—that the world

can be edged in. Tonight, the reds

get the better of me. I can make nothing fit.

 

I try and retry to piece them together

and the holes and knobs resist. But

our conversation surges on despite my

 

ineptitude. It blossoms in the puzzle’s cracks,

all those holes unfilled—our talk spills

across whatever boxes we might want

 

to catch it in. Our losses and wonders

slip from our lips like the clouds

in this jigsaw scene, from blue into deeper blue.

 

It all seems the same somehow, the sorrow,

the gladness, the then, the now, the doing,

the not doing, the borders, the holes,

 

as if we’re all part of an infinite,

uncontrollable, ever-changing weather,

but what do I know of forever.

 

 One Portrait 
           for the mothers

“She is older now..."

“She is older now…”

Her arms are never empty.
There is perhaps a silence
that holds the space for all this hum,
but she knows it more by faith
than by experience. Sometimes
she sees herself in the window
at night as she moves about the kitchen,
stacking dry dishes and setting out bottles
for morning. She is older now. Less
herself and more something else,
something she cannot name,
though she has stopped believing
in the power of names to contain things.
Sometimes she wonders when she
will disappear from the window.
Already she sees it, how she’s become blur,
as if tears fell on a watercolor, and all
is smudgy and hazy and vague. But
who would want to paint this scene, the making
of sandwiches, the watering of the jade.
It will come, the vanishing. For now,
the armfuls of shirts and socks. For now
the low drone of the dryer as it tumbles,
the occasional clashing of a zipper or buckle.
For now, the milk to put away.

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