“I thank my God every time I remember you.” (A BLESSING ON MOTHERS’ DAY 2017)

I was reading Bible passages about mothers this morning, thinking about how much of the Hymn to the Good Wife (Proverbs ch. 31 vv. 10-31) described my mum, when this verse from Philippians ch. 1 v. 3 stood out to me. Mothers’ Day is no longer straightforward for me but I want to concentrate on gratitude rather than loss. So here are some poems I’ve written over the years that echo this verse.

 

This first poem I wrote many years ago. For my tribute at my mum’s funeral, I could do no better than read this:

THE MOTHERING OF MANY

The mothering of many

The foreign student far from home

The son’s friend whose own mother died

The daughter’s friends who turned to her for advice and wisdom

The Sunday lunch guests who came to a morning service alone but left in a family

The gentle offering of mothering to a motherless girl

The ability to share the mothering moments of her own children with others

 

O root of all motherhood

True Mother of life and all things

Let me be a mother like her

My door and arms always open

To my own and to those You send

Give me listening ears, a wise heart, and welcoming arms

Let me set free my own children to warm the hearts of others

 

Make me a mother like her

Make me a mother like You

*****

When I became a mother, I looked to my own for help and advice regularly. She was such a shining example that I worried about how I would cope without her. So I asked her how she had got to such a place of wisdom. This poem is based her reply.

YOU WILL BE THE MUM

You will be the mum.

One day you will be the mum.

You will wake up and find that you have become

The pillar that holds up the roof;

The hearth that warms the house;

The electricity that lights their way home.

 

Your arms will be strong to comfort and uphold;

Your head will have infinite space to hold everyone’s secrets;

Your ears will be able to listen to anything;

Your words will be full of well-earned wisdom.

You will be the mum.

 

You will be the one they turn to

When their hearts are broken,

When life overwhelms them,

When they don’t know which way to turn,

When they need your experience to fall back on.

 

As each day passes

With each new joy or challenge

You are being shaped, stretched, filled, until

One day you will be the mum:

The centre of gravity;

The sun around which all generations rotate,

Your pull holding them all in place as they spin through their own orbits.

 

You will be the mum.

*****

And whilst I have lost my own mum, I am still blessed with a lovely mother in law, who has enriched my life with another type of motherly love.

MOTHERS DAY (for Val)

There are the mothers

Who spend nine months

And a day of pain

To give us life itself

 

There are the mothers

Who steer us

Through stormy waters

From toddlerhood to teenage

 

And then there is you.

 

I joined your family

Through someone else’s choice

Yet every day

You give me the precious gift

Of choosing to love me

 

And as these days

Have become years

Your choice has filled

Gaps in my heart

 

And we have woven

A web of strength between us

For our beloved man

And for each other

*****

I have much to remember and thank God for.

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