Poets’ Corner: 4 For Mother’s Day from Rosemerry

Poets’ Corner: 4 For Mother’s Day from Rosemerry

Mother’s Day…

The holiday is a tribute to the person in every family who can chew gum, rub her tummy, run a company, well some do, and balance a checkbook (i.e. multi-task like crazy). The event was first suggested in 1872 by Julia Ward Howe (who, for trivia buffs, wrote the words to the “Battle Hymn of the Republic”). Howe wanted the holiday be dedicated to peace. (So does every mom. Peace instead of the pieces of her that get sacrificed to different parts of every single day.)

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 the tribute on the second anniversary of her mother’s death, the second Sunday of May.

After establishing Mother’s Day in Philadelphia, Jarvis and her supporters wrote to ministers, businessman, and politicians around the U.S. promoting the idea of a national Mother’s Day.

By 1911, Mother’s Day was celebrated in almost every state. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Mother’s Day a national holiday.

Flowers. Chocolate. Things in big boxes. Things in small boxes (even better). Those are all ways to honor moms everywhere.


Telluride Inside… and Out’s gift to moms is a series of poems by some of our favorite writers, starting with our Word Woman, Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer:

“One is for my mother (‘Advice’); one is for my son (‘On the Eve’); one is about Mother Mary and my daughter (‘Though I Have Never the Pietà In Person’); and the last and final tribute is about quitting being a mom (‘Don’t Ask Me’),” said Rosemerry in explanation.

And before Rosmerry’s pearls/poems, a commercial announcement: Rosemerry is featured at the 3rd annual Telluride Literary Arts Festival, May 20 – May 22. She is one of the fabulous Burl Gurrls, appearing at what is always a sold-out event, Literary Burlesque (on Saturday night at Ah Haa.) This year’s theme: “Oh Sister, Where Art Thou?,” which obviously plays off the Cohen Brothers’ famous film by a similar name—both of which derive substance from Homer’s Odyssey. For an overview of Literary Fest, go here.



My mother’s hands are now

my hands—blue cords

of veins, brown thinning skin,

the fingerpads rough from gardening,

and dirt in the fingernails.

My hands, like hers, raise on their own

to gently touch a loved one’s cheek,

to pull the hair away from their eyes,

and to pull the loved one close.

These hands love to make pie

and do puzzles and pinch back dead flowers.

These hands are seldom still.

I do not know how to read a palm,

but I can read her story here

in these hands that were taught

to love the world, to stay open,

to find bells that long to be rung

and to ring them, these hands,

they are her hands, what a gift

to confuse them, to use them

as if they were hers.


On the Eve

The night before he turns eleven

the boy cannot sleep. He is so alive.

He jumps on his bed and makes up songs

and can’t stop telling me how much

he loves me. Every day he becomes

more his own, which is to say less mine.

There was a time I heard every word

that he said. There was a time I could hold

his entire body in a single arm. But I was never

able to make everything okay with a kiss

or a song, no matter how much I wanted to.

What a perfect rehearsal for now when

his heart is already practicing how to break

at the cruelness of boys and the spite of girls

and the burn of wanting something you can’t have.

Still, I hold him, knowing it won’t make things all better,

hold him through the ache when he lets me.

And tonight I delight with him in his jumping

and singing until it is time for quiet.

The boy cannot sleep. He buzzes above his sheets.

His life is somehow too much for his body.

He can’t contain it all, despite that his legs

are so long, his reach so wide. And this love

I have for him, so much bigger now than it was

when he was smaller, how can that be? Walking out

the bedroom door, I feel a surge of love leaping out

of my chest, leaking from my eyes.

I don’t even try to hold it in.


Though I Have Never Seen The Pieta in Person, It Touches Me

It is not so much the look on Mary’s face,

as if she is yet untouched by the tragedy.

It is not so much the diagonal drape

of the dead Christ’s arm, nor the empty folds

of the virgin’s dress. It’s the name that catches me,

Michelangelo Buonarroti, chiseled in the sash

that runs between Mary’s breasts, as if to say,

“This is my work, and it is good.”

Oh Mary, holding your son, dead,

what do you know about wanting to own something

that cannot be owned? Just this morning

my own six-year-old girl curled into my lap

and reached up with her right hand to clasp

my shirt in her fist. You never ever go, she said,

sprawling across me, loaning me all of her weight.

I love to find my signature in this girl—

the greenish gray color of her eyes,

the way she loves to read. The color of her skin,

her silly side. Mary, how did you do it, say goodbye?

I run my hands over the startling muscles of her legs,

trace the shape of her jaw, the length of her neck.

Oh the body, how it loves to touch, oh the soul, how

it blossoms by letting go. And the ego, oh how it wants

to say, this is mine, this is mine,

though the mind knows the way that all things go—

even the glass surrounding the Carrara marble,

even the marble, the cathedral, the square.

Even the girl, who leaps up to chase the cat.

Even her mother retelling the story of longing

and love and fear. Even the story.


Don’t Ask Me How It Happened

Right there on the side street curb,

I did it. I quit. I told my children

to find another mom. I’m done,

I said. Please, go find another woman

who doesn’t get so frustrated, who

lets you do any little thing you want.

I didn’t think about the future.

All I knew was that I had nothing

left to give them. It had not been

a terrible day. We rode bikes

alongside a river. We had panned

for gold in a makeshift sluice.

We had snuggled in bed with a book

to start the day. Sometimes our lowest points

look so shallow on the surface.

Who could see that there was a fathomless dry ocean

inside me, nothing but a basin where once

whole worlds had thrived.

It was habit that saved us. We closed

the doors to the car. I walked

toward the street without looking back.

It was a few seconds later I feared

that perhaps they were not behind me,

but there they were in quiet step.

How could it be, but in those few seconds

some mysterious hand had come

to refill the empty sea, not just with enough

to wade in, no, but with love overflowing,

great tides of love, the kind you can sail on

in a boat that only floats with more than one on board.

Rosemerry & Co.

Rosemerry & Co.


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