MOTHER, DO YOU LOVE ME?

MOTHER, DO YOU LOVE ME?

 

Her entire childhood

perfectly obliterated

from memory,

I kept hearing her

all too familiar response,

“I…don’t…know.”

Over and over

across the years

whenever I asked her

about anything

relating to her

childhood

or youthful years,

her only response was

the same muffled phrase,

“I…don’t…know” or

“they…tell…me…that…”

Absolutely zero recall.

It was as if she did not

have a past,

did not have a childhood,

did not have connection

to those formative years.

I was thirty-seven

when I got up the courage

to ask my most important

question.

I rehearsed it many times,

fantasizing what she would say.

“Mother, do you love me?”

I was determined this time

during my visit back home

to ask every question

I was afraid to ask her.

We had the opportunity.

It was in her dining room

where I remembered countless

holiday gatherings

with relatives and friends.

We were finally alone

and “now” was the time to

ask THE big question.

It was going to be,

“Do you love me?”

I opened my mouth to

speak those dangerous words.

Something strange happened.

Something took charge

of my tongue

and a totally unrehearsed

and utterly new question

emerged from my mouth:

“Mother, tell me

about your father….”

I felt I was marshaled

outside time and space

as those words spoke me.

Both of us stood face to face

in no man’s land.

The bizarreness of that experience

brings chill bumps,

forty-three years later,

as I revisit that

seminal moment in time.

Unexpectedly, her eyes opened wide

into an altered state,

and she stared through my eyes

into the pit of my stomach

and into the core of my soul.

“They tell me….”

“They tell me I was five years old.

Papa came home from WWI

gassed and about to die at

twenty-five years of age.

I was five years old at the time.

They tell me….

that he took me in his arms

and danced me

around the dining room table….

and I never saw him again.”

Her eyes connected into my heart

and immediately

an insight flashed upon my

psychic screen—

“Mother you could not give me

what you never got.”

My entire world changed

in a split second.

My mother, no longer

my detached biological mother

whose safe and soft mother-love I

did everything possible

to earn.

Instantly she became

this innocent, precious,

fragmented and

childless

lost little girl.

I opened my arms

and she melted her

small bony frame

into my gentle embrace.

“Mother…I love you,”

I whispered into her gray hair.

“I…love…you…too,”

she slowly whispered back

as she rested safely

in my soft embrace.

From that day on,

whenever we finished

our phone calls,

she always said,

“I…love…you…”

It was on my watch

when her eyes

once more, and finally,

penetrated our lifetime

of untold stories

and merged with my

soul.

I held her

and gently touched

her thin white hair.

Her breath rattled

her final story.

“Mother, I love you so much,”

I whispered.

“Thank you

for being my Mother.”

Breathing her last,

her eyes went blank

as I rocked her

liberated and listless frame;

sweet hot tears bathing my cheeks,

I gently closed her eyelids

and kissed her forehead.

 

Hal Edwards

January 29, 2015

Wauconda, IL

DYING INTO LIFE

DYING INTO LIFE

Why don’t I

Just give up,

Stop trying,

Gather enough courage

To lie down

And die?

Beyond exhaustion,

I want to sleep

forever

And numb out

The pain

Of my

Own existence.

The road seems

So dark and

Unending, so

Lonely, so

Dangerous

And demanding.

It becomes narrow,

And the bends

And bumps

Prevent me

From seeing

Far enough

Ahead.

Hope now gone,

I have frozen into

My fears;

I trudge ahead

Not knowing

Where I am

Going.

The dark settles

All around me,

The rain rattles

My brain

And racks my

Body with its

Bone chilling

Penetrating drench.

  Continue reading

WHEN I THINK ABOUT DYING….

WHEN I THINK ABOUT DYING….

 

Every morning

I get up

Mostly around 7,

Pee and weigh,

Heat up the water

For my coffee,

Walk outside

In my pajamas

And pick up

The Herald

And NY Times.

 

As I read

The local and

International

Good and mostly bad

News

I find myself

embracing

and growing

in compassion,

suffering and celebrating

with all of us,

whatever side

or opinion

or violent

or heroic

situation.

 

I often fantasize

That today may

bestow

My final hour,

And I open myself

With gratitude

To the inevitability

Of life

And

Death.

 

When I think about

Expiring Continue reading

MERELY SURMISING?

MERELY SURMISING?

Who are we

to know

there is

no afterlife?

Who are we

to know

there is

an afterlife?

Believing is

not

knowing.

Believing cannot

reach to the

depth and height

of knowing—

or to the

understanding of

of unknowing.

We know

only what

we experience.

All else is

guesstimating,

surmising,

hoping,

or fantasy.

The promises of

afterlife

fill the

sacred scriptures

of every religion. Continue reading

ABBA’S CLEANSING TEARS

ABBA’S CLEANSING TEARS
 

Hold her lightly,

breathe Your healing moonbeams
into her bones and muscles
and 
soothe her parched heart
with the oils of quietness
and tenderness.
 
Transmute into her core
the sacrament of gratitude and the
opportunity to grieve;
and fill her
entire body with 
feathers of hope and
awareness of the Great Mercy
awaiting each of us
in our respective turn,
now, Richard,
later,
one of us.
 
Meanwhile,
grief does its mystical dance,
wearing through 
the stronghold of every
last resistance and 
every sliver of hope,
baptizing both
body and soul.
 
Flow on Great Dark River.
Unleash your power to
nourish and to kill.
 
We say YES to Your
order and chaos
that make a Greater Whole
than we can understand,
than we can tolerate.
 
We wait in our 
Upper Room of grief
and unknowing.
We say Yes when
ten thousand No’s 
peek
through the dark clouds.
 
We remain anchored
in a mighty storm.
Soon, ever so soon,
the muggy sky will be cleansed
with Abba’s cleansing tears.
 
Meanwhile,
because we long
for meaning in all things,
we participate in the 
mystery of Something
merging from 
a screaming silence.  
To Jolene, 
who waited beside her beloved Richard
who graduated from hospice.
Hal Edwards
Wauconda
Thursday, July 25, 2013

NATURE’S WISDOM IN HUMAN CONSCIOUSNESS

NATURE’S WISDOM IN HUMAN CONSCIOUSNESS

EYES THAT SEE COLOR

              Camille Flammarion, L’Atmosphere: Météorologie Populaire (Paris, 1888) 

What is our

obsessive fear

of dying and death

revealing about

our perspective of

life?

 

Nature’s

Way

deserves our

response.

Nature’s wisdom

affirms birth

and life,

and death.

Every particle

and DNA imprint

point to the

remarkably foreseeable

cycles of

birth and death.

Let us cure cancer.

Let us cure

whatever kills us;

let us extend the

perimeters of

physical life

and see what we

come up with.

Whatever we do

to avoid the

inevitability of

impermanence,

whatever we accomplish

to extend ourselves

beyond the natural

course of Nature,

will reap

the best and worst

that we can imagine.

While we live longer,

we may at the same time

create demands beyond

our present

capacity

to sustain the balance.

Continue reading

TODAY, SIX YEARS AGO

TODAY, SIX YEARS AGO

She absolutely adored her four children;
she thrived on being
with her beloved grandchildren.
Until the very end of her life
their presence
filled her with
energy, vibrancy and joy.

I shall always remember
the sparkle on her face
when she
heard the lively
voices of Lib, Rachel, Sam, Joanna.

Little did we know.
Thirty days after this phone call….

I took a bathroom break
and stopped to chat briefly
with a friend whose son
has been in the hospital
for weeks.
He slept on the couch
in the waiting room.

One of my children
rushed to me and
we hurried back
to Betsy’s room.

She left us
in the middle of a
pizza party.

The whole world
became surreal.
Exhausted and faithfully present,
our four children
and dear friends
witnesses time warp
as she took her leave
from our physical world.

Continue reading

WINTERSONG

WINTERSONG

I pause beholden
before You,
Bleakly beautiful Wintersong.

You nip into
My skin and
Summon my psyche into
Stark simplicity

Welcome,
Blessed blue-gray skies,
Naked leafless limbs,
Cutting winds,
Swirling snowflakes,
Shivering tundra—
Your hibernation
Looms imminent.

Do your dark work.
Prune,
Devastate,
And consummate
Every persistent blossom and
Tireless harvest.

Lie dormant,
Lady Nature, in Your
Austere magnificence,
Withstanding every reminiscence
Of friendly warmth;

Tighten Your tacit tentacles
Around the season
While I seek my tranquility
In every warm cup
And cinders’ glow.

Harsh,
Uncompromising,
Gloomy
Days of Winter—
Echo Your hushed ballads,
Play Your glockenspiels,
Dance into Your darkness.

Tutor me
In my own
Hallowed diminishments
And
Hope for Spring’s return.

-Hal Edwards
November 5, 2012
Wauconda, IL

AUTUMN’S PROMISE

AUTUMN’S PROMISE

When autumn
happens
I’m lost in its

glorious transition, 

and I find
something
of my waiting self,
meandering hither and yon,
camera in hand,
gazing back at me

through nature’s

magical forest

in
our nearby
nature preserve.

The same
memorable and specific
trees,
so brilliant and
majestic
last week,
have now
passed
their prime.

Others,
green at that time,
now burst
into
voluptuous splendor
in preparation
for their
annual
surrender.

Continue reading