Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My Mother’s Poetry

My mother has started writing poetry and I think it is great. Here is a selection of some of her latest poems … and my observations about them. To see the complete collection visit her website The Upside of Angst:

Dec. 27, 2008
Wishing for Illusion
I thought I needed to wish for something
but didn't know what because I have so much
although nothing fits but that could be due
to too much red wine.
And I remembered I got three wishes
for the current year but I may have wished
unaware in May or maybe June and
forgotten to count.
Then I looked around at the illusion
you have given me - a view of my life
that I hadn't seen for looking elsewhere
and I give you thanks.
Now I need to take my very last wish
and pay it forward - give it to someone
who could use a wish or the illusion
of a better life.

Dec. 28, 2008
Comfort Food
When I need to hide from reality
it is the lentils and beans
that I turn to for comfort
because they look the same
as they always have.

What I see in the glass jar
is a circle of women
sorting them, washing them
picking out the small stones
as they've done forever.

I don't see big agribusiness
large-scale, industrialized,
vertically integrated,
genetically modified
food production.

I hide in the illusion,
in the sunlight on the glass
of a simpler time before now
grateful I don't have to look
at any pigs or chickens.

Dec. 29, 2008
Wonder Woman
There was an old woman at Maxi's
even older than me
she went through Libre Service -
pressing the different buttons,
pricing and bagging her fruit -
she was like the wind.
I was so in awe I spoke to her
on her way out and
congratulated her and
what was even more amazing -
she understood English.

Dec. 29, 2008
When Barbara takes me shopping
in her great big car
we ride around like ladies
to the manor born.

And I don't see the footprint -
the evil carbon footprint
that trails along behind us -
"Get thee behind me, Satan."

And even if I saw it
I'd say it wasn't mine
for I'm as pure as driven snow
that hides its own pollution.

So I abandon all my scruples
and throw the planet to the wind
when Barbara takes me shopping
in her great big car.

Dec. 30, 2008
The new muse is working out well I think
she brings me old poems from her world.
The poems she has are much better than mine
or at least the translations are.

But she praises my efforts and I carry on
so I think she's more mentor than muse.
She makes me think about other's lives
as I recycle their lives into mine.

My Comments on the Poems

I love your new poems.

Wishing for illusion
About the need to wish, or not having any need to wish, but rather just view things differently. Is the view an illusion? Is the wish an illusion?

Wonder Woman
I can just picture you, standing in awe of the old woman at Maxi's, thinking "That's what I want to be when I grow up."

Comfort Food
Unusual notion that you hide from reality in beans and lentils, these being some of the most basic, mundane foods, the staples of the low on the hog diet. Love the eternal image of women washing and sorting beans… as they have always done. Love the awareness of the unseen agribusinesses. So low on the hog, you're not on the hog at all.

Yes, we have these little inconsistencies that we just have to deal with. We may long for a simpler time, but it sure makes life easier when Barbara takes you shopping in the Great Big Car. I guess she isn't reading your poems… otherwise she might not offer to take you out in the GBC anymore!

I accidentally attended a conference on literary creation a while ago. One of the things that was suggested, was that the personal component is indispensable in writing. An author should always ask, why is this story/idea important to me? What does it have to do with me? I really think that you are doing this in your poetry. You are putting things that are important to you, out there into the world, and you are taking in new ideas and making them yours (recycling).

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