Thursday, January 24, 2008

Thinking about My Mother and Father


At night the dead come down to the river to drink.
They unburden themselves of their fears,
their worries for us. They take out the old photographs.
They pat the lines in our hands and tell our futures.
Some dead find their way to our houses.
They go up to the attics.
They read the letters they sent us, insatiable
for signs of their love.
They tell each other stories.
They make so much noise
they wake us
as they did when we were children and they stayed up
drinking all night in the kitchen.

--Susan Mitchell


Mary said...

"They read the letters they sent us, insatiable
for signs of their love." Heartbreaking and lovely and surely true! No wonder they make so much racket.

Barbara said...

After their passing, we seem to inevitably forgive them for all the things that made us angry as their children. I have a much different impression of my parents now than I did back when we were a family. I can certainly see that I am their daughter, for better or for worse.

phd girl said...

This poem makes me think of many things,

The short intense time of childhood. I end up thinking of my mother and father often, anyway, because they gave such good advice about life--and they didn't even have to say things out loud. I picture them at the river, dancing together. Just a waltz.

Absolute Vanilla (& Atyllah) said...

What an evocative poem. It's curious how our views of the dead change after they've passed on - wonderful too how they change when they get back home.

Steve said...

The photo goes with the poem so well!

I like the idea that the dead still surround us, embodied in the old photos and letters. SO true.

Lori Witzel said...

Wow. Thanks for that.

dennis said...

Dennis looks at the photo and Dennis says WOW.

Reya Mellicker said...

Lori you are my inspiration every time I put a poem on the blog. Thank you!

Dennis likes my photo? Wow!! I am flattered, also because Steve likes the pic with the poem. That's Lori's genius, you know.

Reya Mellicker said...

I do have a much healthier and happier relationship to my parents than I did when they were alive. And yes, I am definitely my parents' daughter.

kimy said...

thank you for the poem and picture. poignant. powerful.

are you familiar with sweet honey's song breaths? reminds me of this beautiful poem. if not check it out! who knows might be on youtube!