Pontormo’s “Visitation,” –famous mothers, Mary and Elizabeth
I wrote this in honor of my mother and mother-in-law.
You Sobered Your Soul
During the fat of summer,
your thin hands
embraced the razor cold
of winter. Your heart
rejected lethargy in that joyful day of ease.
You sobered your soul
to tailor family hats,
mittens, and coats.
I watched you dip them in blood
and soak them in tears.
You gathered oil and wheat and wine.
You dug a cave for eternity
in the fragile, volatile state of
abundance. When others played in the shallow light
of summer, you sobered your soul.
At the first drop of rain, we hunkered down
in that dark cellar of faith. You smiled when the wind
blew the candles out, and the old rickety wooden table
jiggled as we wrote our lessons in the light of eternity.
You made sure our feet did not slip.
You squeezed the color from vegetables and painted a canvas of possibility;
and when we ate the last bite of soup, I saw you
bow your knee to one who is greater.
You warred for my life
and freed my feet and hands to jump over a wall with
ease, to stop an enemy in his tracks, to tie
the shoe of a child, to recognize a thirsty soul, and to understand
when a silver world begins to tarnish.
You taught us how to cope with clay feet and golden dreams
when you took away our measuring rods.
For this you are wise and good.
For this you are called Mother.
Euless, Texas, May 10, 2006