Saturday, May 14, marked the 5th anniversary of my mother’s passing. Generally, some time in the week before the anniversary day, I’ll begin to notice undertow in my physical and psychic functions, as if entering a tunnel. It is always a mystery how when and how the phenomena show up. This past week the phenomena did not seem so pronounced as they have been in years previous. Good, I thought, perhaps the process is completing. I supposed that, as we burn through the densest “unresolveds,” each year will bring a shorter tunnel, a milder altered state, until I’ll be left with only the slightest and sweetest souvenirs, little love-notes from the Deep Self.
For instance, this year, on the morning of the 14th, I awoke from a night of truly bizarre dreams, which scattered like cockroaches when I opened my eyes to the light. I didn’t chase them, and as I stirred about in the kitchen, the morning song came into focus. Not surprisingly, but still poignantly, it was a Crowded House song I’d not thought of for some time: “She Goes On,” a remembrance of someone’s departed mum.
More happened to give that morning the special aura and fullness of times when the veils are thin. But that is the easiest to convey with words. Little significances and synchronicities presented throughout the day, ending with my discovering The Blind Side playing on T.V. shortly before I retired for bed. (It takes place in Memphis and features my mother’s alma mater, Ole Miss, and themes whose relevance I could sense in the nebula of intelligent mystery around me).
In the preceding days, I’d been sorting through my “Deep Save” box of keep sakes. I found a journal made for me by my father in the mid 80’s, collecting his poetry and some of my mother’s that he had rescued from the trash. When I first found it, I read in his writings, until they built a charge that sent me to the computer to write. That project isn’t finished.
Today, the 15th, I awoke completely out of it. After morning meditation and yoga practice, I prepared for a walk, but never got past the deck. I simply lay down, with my feet up the deck railing, until I had the juice to rise again. And when I did it was to return to bed. I rose again after 1 p.m., still swimmy, and I was good for very little all day but witnessing the inarticulable processes I could feel working on my energetic system.
This evening, I found the cache of my mother’s poems in the journal of Dad’s. They probably predate me, but they reveal the seeds of my own poetic impulses. To honor that and her, I share three of them here.
The Brain’s a hungry animal
The brain’s a hungry animal,
distainful of its food;
it lets the meat of friendship rot
and gnaws on solitude.
Imprisoned in a bony cage
it paces like a wolf
and nothing, even liberty,
can ever bridge the gulf.
All being, all existing
All being, all existing
has darkness on each side
but is a state whose opposite
is better left untried.
All being, all existing is daring death to pounce;
but those who’ve tried not living
only try it once.
Parks are very private worlds;
pink-toed pigeons and dapper squirrels
will shut the door
on all but little boys an girls
or lovers, or the poor.
Exclusive membership is granted
to applicants starvation haunted,
to those who show upon request
certificates of loneliness;
to children, with their innocence
to serve as note of reference.
Rosemary S. Landon