my mother’s day

Mar 26, 2020 poetry

My Mum died this week, after a gruelling illness. Today I post in honour of her: Christine Crispin, an extraordinary woman. She did all sorts of remarkable things. She was in life’s plus column.

Amongst her many achievements was being my Dad’s sole carer over the decades of his long illness. I wrote this for her a few months ago, and she liked it. I was glad.

canticle: on the beauty of my mother’s knees

On that age-soft skin, here and there broken
with filigree of spider-veins, dark bruise-
like patches at the knee tell how you used
your years: all those days when you would waken
and kneel to coax socks over feet swollen
with fluid, point them through leg-holes in pants
and trousers, tie laces, fit wheelchair flaps,
retrieve dropped things: do it all. Not stolen
by time, then, but transfigured, your beauty
sings of the love you gave, and what it cost:
how life became strange and hard; how you lost
sight of something, sometimes, under duty
fierce, unrelenting; and how love will insist
on asking everything; and will persist.

10 thoughts on “my mother’s day”
  1. Dear Lucy – I am so sorry to have heard the news of your Mum’s death today. The poem is beautiful and moving. An extraordinary woman indeed. Thinking of you and sending you another virtual hug.

  2. Thinking of you, and I hope the aftermath isn’t too awful.
    This is a beautiful, hard, moving poem, and on top of that it wasn’t till I’d read it and read it again that its technical mastery started to dawn on me, it wears it so lightly.
    I’m glad she saw it and liked it.

    1. So kind of you to comment, David. It’s hard to know at the moment which is world-weirdness, and which is family aftermath weirdness. But support means so much. Thank you x

  3. I’m so sorry to hear of your mother’s death. The poem is a beautiful, personal and moving tribute, and it must have pleased her so much. Thinking of you and hoping you keep yourself safe.

  4. Lucy, your poem does what the best poetry does best — it makes us feel and understand more deeply. My heart goes out to you. We met in Grasmere a few years ago in a workshop you led with the theme Grief. Unforgettable. You know how to do this. You are not alone.
    Reaching across from Ottawa to hold your hand.

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