Sunday, May 13, 2012

Unexpected Us - a poem for my mom

I tell everyone, well anyone who asks
That you were the best mother any child ever had
And I mean it when I say it, when I say it
But when I don’t, I know our truth
That we were, for none to see, a mother and daughter
Of complexities not imagined in banal platitudes

Ours was the slamming of doors
And the embarrassment of time
Ours was full acceptance of failure
And strongest denial of change

We were children together, hand in hand
Questioning the lines in which we stood
Related but unyielding
Causing wounds that grounded our flights

You were my strength and my comfort
You were my hesitation and my doubt
You were my deepest pain
You were my utter joy

I miss you everyday, Mom.

27 comments:

  1. So, so beautiful.

    I don't know if you have children, but whether or no - Happy Mother's Day.

    [[[hugs]]]

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  2. No children but good wishes and hugs always accepted here. Thank you dear Angela.

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  3. Absolutely perfect! Such a beautiful tribute *big hugs*

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    1. Thanks dear Lillie, sent with **bigger hugs** to you.

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  4. ((cyber hug)) Happy Mother's Day!

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    1. Always a difficult day for me actually. Thanks always for the cyber hugs.

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  5. Beatuiful, sad, and touching. Thanks for sharing that, Jo *double-big hugs with dusting of chocolate and cinimon*

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    1. Thank you Chris for your comments and, as always, for your understanding. Sugar and vanilla dusted hugs right back to you :))

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  6. Your words hit home...sometimes people explain away the mother/daughter relationship with such simplicity when it's so much more complex. In life, my biggest resentments have been levied against my Mum, but alongside, my biggest appreciation and love are hers too. It's a relationship I can't explain. My own relationship with my oldest daughter also defies labelling...and I often feel like we are children together!
    Beautiful words Jo-Anne. :)

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    1. Thank you Lisa - you have responded to exactly what I was trying to convey. Your heart is as lovely (not a surprise) as your writing. Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I always appreciate seeing your name in the comments!

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  7. Beautiful, Jo-Anne. Saying that it's an expression of unconditional love seems so cliche, but I'm going to say it anyway.

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    1. I appreciate your kind words, Laura. You understand completely.

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  8. That was very touching Jo-Anne! I'm sure that wherever she is, she loved it. *HUGS*

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    1. Thank you dear Angie. Huge hugs back to you.

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  9. I had no idea that you were such a beautiful writer, my friend! I'm glad I found your website.

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    1. Kate, Kate, my Kate - I think I'm glad you found my website too :)) Now you'll get a glimpse at who I truly am.

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  10. Jo-Anne ~ this is a truly wonderful poem that I can really connect with ~ thank you so much for sharing :)

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    1. Thank you Peter, your comment means so much to me! Writing a poem is such an art, I am still in the fingerpainting stage. Sending hugs.

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  11. Such a touching poem, Jo-Anne...I'm so moved by this...*huge hugs* x

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    1. Having both you and Peter read my poem and comment, I'm overwhelmed! I admire your poetry so very much dear Louise. I am hopeful that as time moves my writing forward, I will improve my technique, imagery and word choices in my attempts at poetry as well as prose.
      Huge hugs back!

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  12. Jo-Anne, you asked us to be gentle on you because these are your first attempts at poetry. How on earth can you expect me to be gentle with you when I am almost speechless! Victor Meldrew comes to mind at this moment, when I say "I don't believe it"; I DO NOT BELIEVE IT, JO-ANNE! Excuse me shouting; I do that when I get excited!

    If this was my first attempt at writing poetry seriously, I'd be the Poet Laureate by now! You are a writer, obviously; you know words, clearly; but choosing them and phrasing them in groups that produce synergy and deep meaning, using all the tools at the poet's disposal, now that's the art of poetry.

    Tell you some of the bits I like in this poem: "And I mean it when I say it, when I say it" is a fantastic line, because it makes so much sense to me and it says so much in an unusual way; in fact if this were a song lyric, I'd say this was the 'hook line'. The three four-line stanzas are super and could stand alone as poem on their own. The last line "I miss you..." is not needed, because you've already said it a dozen times in the foregoing lines.

    Well done Ms Teal! Well done indeed.

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    1. Thank you, John, for such a generous comment. It has taken me a day or so to put this thank you reply up on my blog because I really was overwhelmed by your kind response.

      I am slowly, I believe, finding my voice as a writer, but of course the poetry form is much different than prose and poses new challenges for me. I am honoured when poets I admire, like yourself, Louise, Quirina and Peter, take the time to read my work.

      I've looked at your blog and see that you are energetic around constructive criticism and I welcome that! Please know that if you have feedback about word choice, structure, etc... I would be very pleased to listen.

      I'm very glad we've had the opportunity to connect through Twitter, and again John, thank you for your interesting, detailed comment. It really means a lot to me.

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  13. P.S. I love Joni Mitchell, as much in her late years as in the 70's, when "Chelsea Morning" and "Clouds" were amongst the most resonant sounds of my life as a young student in London.

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  14. Oh, Jo-Anne, how beautiful and powerful this is! I believe there are many women who can readily relate to the complex relationship you've described here. I know I certainly can.

    So glad I happened to find your blog. Looking forward to browsing through your posts. :)

    --Susan

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    1. Susan, I'm so pleased that you found my blog too :)) Mother and daughter relationships do have a complexity all of their own, don't they. I'm glad if the emotions in the poem rang true for you.

      I look forward to being connected through our blogs and on Twitter ;))

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  15. Wow, Jo-Anne. This is such an incredibly moving poem. It had me in tears in the end. And I am fully in agreement with John. I'd love to read more poems by you, Jo-Anne. Sorry I missed this poem. I was offline at this time, in London, because I had met up 6 other poets (most of whom you know and love too). That day, mother's day, was also the birthday of my English grandmother, whom I never met, because she died long before I was even thought of, but I was on her soil when it was her birthday. ... totally love your poem, Jo-Anne! xx

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    1. Oh dear Quirina, it is always so lovely to have a comment from you. First sending you a hug ((HUG)) to say thank you. Now, I've seen some of the photos that Peter took so I know the meeting to which you refer. How wonderful to be together! I hope that when it happens again - and I'm sure such a great group absolutely will get together again - that I can elbow my way into being there too!

      I know the feeling of being close to family whom one has never met. I visited England in 1984 - the only time I've been so far - and walked around the Yorkshire village that the Teal side of the family began. It was very moving to be there and Steeton (as Peter knows) still pulls me towards England in quite a profound way.

      Your generous words about my poem mean so very much to me. This was difficult to write yet, in a strange way, the words flowed easily.

      Thank you as always, dear Quirina, for being so very kind. How blessed I am to have met you through Twitter. More hugs!

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