Today is my mother's birthday: Mildred Mastin Weedon. She's been gone for many years now. Had she lived, she would be 89 - she was 43 when I was born. She was a remarkable woman in so many ways. Crippled with polio when she was only three, she lived with suffering her whole life, and yet never made a big deal about it - and never let it spoil her mischevious sense of fun. Some months after my brother Joe died in a car wreck back in 1985, I wrote this rather impertinent poem about her - but she amazed me and still does. She ended up with Alzheimer's before she died, and that was horrible. I miss her much. Memory eternal!
A Portrait - MMW
Beneath your studied, "give a damn" exterior
Runs a pride, the depths of which I cannot fathom -
And the pride lends you a dignity which is beyond
The vision of most in a shallow age.
Proud daughter of high lineage -
Child of the Fields,
To portray you is difficult, most difficult indeed!
The outward marks form a delightful litany:
Your tea, your swing, your towel,
Your collection of wise sayings,
Your love of remnants that speak of eras
That have long since lifted their wings
And forsook these shores,
Your puzzles, your rocking chair, your books.
But these are only the joyful tracks that testify to your presence.
To portray you who fill all these with meaning - that is my task!
First, it must be said that your tender love seems to have no end,
And that your anger is but a momentary flicker.
How I see now that your boundless love is your bane!
For a love so lasting, so great, is capable of grief unutterable
And equally immeasureable.
Surely almost you must feel that you have given and given
Til there is naught left to give -
Yet you cease not to love and give to us all.
Second, it must be said that you are strong.
It flows naturally from your giving.
You have carried us through times of darkness
Beyond our imagining - and still you walk on,
Head held high.
Third, it must be said that you worry far too much.
You are not God, and yet you seem to feel that the
Destiny of your own is in your hand. But it is not so.
From this delusion I fear you shall never be entirely free -
So deeply is it entwined at the root of your being.
And for this foible, I love you dearly,
Though my sincerest prayer is that you might give it into the hands
Of One far stronger and wiser than yourself.
More of you I cannot tell. You pass the bounds of scrutiny.
Only will I ever marvel at the greatness of your suffering love.