Traditional Mother's Day poems, like most poems written for Hallmarkian holidays, tend toward sweetness, and since I don't (think I) do that very well, I'll not contribute to the buffet here (for some occasion poems, check out the last week at yourdailypoem.com or David Young's "Mother's Day" at poets.org). A rare alignment of circumstances gave me a couple uninterrupted hours with my mother this weekend, which we spent mostly by talking about events from long ago - some well known and raised for reliving, some that I knew less well. It's interesting to revisit events for which I have some memory of as an 8- or 12- or 17-year old through the filter of being a father now, and to hear my mother describe these events to me as a peer, without the softening or misdirection that sometimes infiltrates the parent-child relationship.
Some of the events we relived made their way into poems 20 years ago, some more recently; I've mentioned in this space that the older I get the righter my father becomes, and gaining a little context makes me want to return to that material and treat it a bit differently. And of course, there are the poems about my father as young man, whose subjects I know only from what my mother has told me. Lord knows he wasn't about to talk about them.
So though I've written more about my father than my mother - because ours was the more complicated relationship, and because I tried to write my way through the months after his death. But I suppose in a way those poems about Dad were almost as much about the shared experience with my mother as they were about my memory of my father.
Which reminds me of a quote; I don't know where exactly I first heard this, but Google turns it up intact and similarly attributed in enough places that I think it must be accurate. And after watching my daughter compose a poem for my wife, I'm convinced that whether it's accurate or not, it's true:
"My mother is a poem I'll never be able to write, though everything I write is a poem to my mother." Sharon Doubiago
Happy Mother's Day.