a cento poem study group, (Read Write Poem Challenge #3)
inspired by the cento poems of Li-Young Lee
Maybe this time I’ll rescue my mother.
Pearl Harbor will just be a sleepy port.
Nobody came & nobody went.
Nothing lost & no wedding bells.
We’ll listen to corn in the summer fields,
rows & rows. Feed my lambs, a feather
said, someone loves like wind, no hope,
no brown uniform thrown on the bed.
His face won’t be in the photograph.
His face won’t look like mine. Nothing
gambled in the high desert dust.
No frozen clothes on the line.
Brothers will just be brothers, won’t
go speechless in the light of day.
Although that one of them, he’ll still
go to Alaska on a tall sail ship.
He’ll still die, an artful youth of a man.
Some things just gotta be. Else no
wonder of clay, sister on the desk.
Maybe Grandfather & Grandmother
will be Egyptian or Indian or make roots,
not drought. She’ll land covered in rain.
Maybe she’ll smile, never knowing
I changed everything, including me.
Neil Reid © February 2010
Read Write Poem poetry mini-challenge:
fall in love with a poet, February 2010
by Carolee Sherwood and Jill Crammond WIckham
POEM notes: Writing this poem was inspired by the strong general sense of family as present in the poetry of Li-Young Lee, and specifically the first line here, Maybe this time I’ll rescue my mother, from his poem, Mother Deluxe.
During the later years of my mother’s life as her memory faded deeper and deeper inside, while I was glad to serve and care for her the general sense was bailing water from a sinking ship. Inevitable. Seeing that word, “rescue”, opened another chance of possibility for me. Not that I can change the physical result, however I can change how I hold that relationship, and even if but for a moment in time and reflection, rescue her, and from not only those last years but from all the history that also colored them.
It is spoken in gratitude.