Because I feel that, in the Heavens above,
The angels, whispering to one another,
Can find, among their burning terms of love,
None so devotional as that of “Mother,”
Therefore by that dear name I long have called you—
You who are more than mother unto me,
And fill my heart of hearts, where Death installed you
In setting my Virginia’s spirit free.
My mother—my own mother, who died early,
Was but the mother of myself; but you
Are mother to the one I loved so dearly,
And thus are dearer than the mother I knew
By that infinity with which my wife
Was dearer to my soul than its soul-life.
What you do with time
is what a grandmother clock
does with it: strike twelve
and take its time doing it.
You’re the clock: time passes,
you remain. And wait.
Waiting is what happens to
a snow-covered garden,
a trunk under moss,
hope for better times
in the nineteenth century,
or words in a poem.
For poetry is about letting things
grow moldy together, like grapes
turning into wine, reality into preserves,
and hoarding words
in the cellar of yourself.
I see her doing something simple, paying bills,
or leafing through a magazine or book,
and wish that I could say, and she could hear,
that now I start to understand her love
for all of us, the fullness of it.
It burns there in the past, beyond my reach,
a modest lamp.
I have no name
I am but two days old, –
What shall I call thee?
I happy am
Joy is my name, –
Sweet joy befall thee!
Sweet joy but two days old,
Sweet joy I call thee;
Thou dost smile.
I sing the while
Sweet joy befall thee.
“M” is for the million things she gave me,
“O” means only that she’s growing old,
“T” is for the tears she shed to save me,
“H” is for her heart of purest gold;
“E” is for her eyes, with love-light shining,
“R” means right, and right she’ll always be,
Put them all together, they spell
A word that means the world to me.