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The Lost Mother

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  • The Lost Mother

    I want to believe you are still in the ground in Michigan
    Cleaning out your bones making a fragile tunnel
    For the telescope of God to peer into

    The strayed curtains of your face begin to fade
    The subterfuge of your private madness
    Leaks out in me
    You were tall thin and ethereal shaking
    At the end your hands
    Like silverfish heading out through long grass
    At twilight

    That disquiet that tether
    Comes back to me

    The piano of your Chopin on Sunday afternoons
    Rose through the parlor as Terry
    The dog accompanied you in atonal harmony
    While I small child took note in a book of hours

    So that today I might implore you
    Mother
    If there be a music in our spheres
    And a celestial harmony that lasts come back
    You who birthed me so late in life
    Almost as an afterthought

    I will sit gladly at your feet
    As you open the picnic basket take out
    And spread on the grass
    Enough joy for both of us to eat

  • #2
    Holy shit, Tanner! You are in a class of your own! The second and third lines of your poem compel a thorough reading. Amazing.

    Comment


    • grant hayes
      grant hayes commented
      Editing a comment
      I'm with you there, Sister Greed. What a way to open a poem! I was hooked, instantly. Fragile tunnel for the telescope of God! Sheer stunned plunge of awe.

    • Suz-zen
      Suz-zen commented
      Editing a comment
      I concur!
      Read it twice then a third time before i went on...
      Fragile tunnel, telescope of God
      Fragile tunnel, telescope of God
      Fragile tunnel, telescope of God

  • #3
    Sister Greed. I know you know about pain. My mother spent the last 11 years of her life in a state mental hospital because of severe depression. Lots of barbiturates and and episodes of electric shock. I was shipped off in a DC-3 in the middle of the night from Michigan at age 8 to live with an uncle in Dallas. This was a painful but necessary write, and the last stanza is based on a real picture, one of the few that I have of my mother and myself. Thank you for your words.

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    • #4
      This is a work of genius, Tanner. You have been able to turn your own painful experience into a sharp gem that dazzles as it pierces. Thank you for sharing something at once so authentic and so exquisitely wrought.

      Comment


      • #5
        This poem as you appreciate, Grant and Sister Greed, was exceptionally difficult to write - because I was knee-deep in the darkness of it - not look in - looking back through a lot of
        pain which is still being processed...

        Comment


        • #6
          I see your pain. We talk about the mentally ill (yes, I am one) going through so much pain. But, I believe that the people
          who surround them suffer and it takes a big tole. I saw my sister in depression and almost could not take it. I have
          never seen her like that. I am the one. I think it is easier being depressed than watching my sister go through it. She had a reason.
          Mine comes and goes. So I know the pain of adults but still can't imagine the pain children go through. I am glad you made me
          think of children again. Me, never married, no kids, no grandkids.

          Comment


          • #7
            Hi, Tanner, This poem is beautifully wrought. The first six lines requiring study and thought to extract all their beauty, passion, and artistry.
            The loss of one's mother is painful at any age, but at a tender age it is most painful.
            I am a Michigander, but long since transplanted.

            Comment


            • #8
              MHenry, born in A (squared) aka Ann Arbor.

              Comment


              • MHenry
                MHenry commented
                Editing a comment
                My last visit to Ann Arbor, my tent collapsed in the rain. I attended Wayne State University for undergrad and law school after four years in the Air Force

            • #9
              Hi Tanner, I've not yet written about my mother, who died several years ago; this lovely poem, that told so much about your mother (and you) has inspired me to remedy that. Your lack of punctuation was very effective.

              Comment


              • #10
                I just can't get over the incredibly exquisite beauty with which you document your relationship through time. Thank you for sharing your insides (most revered) with us on such a deeply personal level. And for writing us to tell us what happened with you and your mother. I do hope you publish this special poem. You have such interesting insight into life, and death.

                Comment


                • #11
                  I thank all of you for your comments. It is always risky to put yourself naked psychologically into a poem.

                  Comment


                  • #12
                    Tanner so beautiful in its honesty and full of layers that I greatly admire. Thank you for taking the risk to share this. I cry with you as you process losing your Mother...still.

                    Comment


                    • #13
                      This is hauntingly beautiful Tanner and brought tears to my eyes not because my mother has passed but because there are things in my childhood that it evoked strong feelings from - things I still am not able to revisit.

                      I've been to Ann Arbor -- used to go to Kalamazoo all the time. I was raised close to Notre Dame part of my childhood. I feel a kinship to you and MH.

                      Beautiful Tanner

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                      • #14
                        Such beautiful words - very well written. Thank you for sharing.

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