Poem – Mummy

The steadfast oak

stands strong and proud –

an omnipresent silhouette-

in the local park.

 

Her roots spread deep

throughout the earth.

She’s rock solid.

A survivor.

Victorious over much adversity:

drought, wars, storms,

the angst of love gone wrong.

I    Love     u

is still carved in her bark,

long after the lovers have gone.

 

Children climb.

Lorikeets, magpies, noisy minors

all chatter, sing and squawk

in her strong, muscular  branches.

Possums play ping pong

long after dark.

A myriad of bugs

march, flutter and buzz

through her crisp, green leaves.

 

Bursting with acorns,

she is the tree of life

carrying the world

on her shoulders,

while cheerfully smiling

up at the sun.

 2.

It was neither autumn,

winter,

nor the time for old age.

Somehow,

the rot just set in,

eating away all her strength.

All floppy jalopy

with a rubber trunk,

she could barely stand up.

Yearned to become a chair.

Rest.

Fall asleep.

 

But an oak is still an oak.

Children climbed her hollow branches

at their peril.

The lorikeets, magpies, noisy minors

still sang oblivious to her cries.

Possums still played ping pong after dark,

although fatigue smothered her

like a fatal shroud.

The bugs never, ever stopped.

As much as she tried

to kiss them goodnight,

they couldn’t see

and she couldn’t speak.

Slowly but surely

the world was sinking.

About to fall off

those once firm shoulders

and crack like a fragile egg.

 

Splat!

 

3.

 

But then the gardener came.

The gardener came with x-ray eyes

somehow sensing her weakness,

despite her strength.

He knew the tree.

Cell by cell,

he painstakingly

restored her soul,

making her whole.

 

Strong, scarred

and a little crooked,

the oak again stands tall

carrying the world

on her shoulders,

smiling at the sun…

the tree of life.

 

15 & 16th August, 2013

 

Reflections…

 I have been feeling tired and rundown lately and yet am expected to keep going. The kids jump all over me with no idea that I am struggling to stand up. That I’m stumbling. Perhaps, that’s my own fault. I cover my tracks too well.

 

When it came to writing this poem, initially I wanted all the critters to get out of the tree. Give the tree a break. But then I realised that the tree loved being part of that community. That they gave her life. I realised that I push myself to spend time with my kids, to be a vibrant and active part of our community and this connection gives me life, even if it does sometimes feel a bit too much. I struggle to pick the kids up from school most afternoons because I love to be involved, catch up with my friends and fellow parents and be an active part of the school. As much as I struggle to do this, I would feel so cut off if I didn’t.

 

I hope this poem captures the tension between being loved and part of community and also the weight of illness and disability which can rob you of these relationships and experiencing the intensity of close relationships. This is where equipment like wheelchairs and walking frames facilitate relationships and connection. I don’t use these and I currently end up staying home and in bed when my mobility deteriorates. In many ways, I become cut off.

 

This poem also leads towards a cure and being healed, which remains a bit of wishful thinking on my part. I was excellent only a few weeks ago but dropped my prednisone and am feeling weak at the moment.

Anyway, these are just a few reflections.

 

xx Rowena

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Poem – Mummy

  1. roweeee Post author

    Thank you very much! I am currently travelling and found a row of oak trees in the little village where my grandfather grew up and will post some of these with the poem. Haven’t seen any oaks near home. Best wishes rowena

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