Tag Archives: mother

Under her Piano

“Music” by Anne Porter from Living Things: Collected Poems. © Steerforth Press, 2006.
When I was a child
I once sat sobbing on the floor
Beside my mother’s piano
As she played and sang
For there was in her singing
A shy yet solemn glory
My smallness could not hold
And when I was asked
Why I was crying
I had no words for it
I only shook my head
And went on crying
Why is it that music
At its most beautiful
Opens a wound in us
An ache a desolation
Deep as a homesickness
For some far-off
And half-forgotten country
I’ve never understood
Why this is so
But there’s an ancient legend
From the other side of the world
That gives away the secret
Of this mysterious sorrow
For centuries on centuries
We have been wandering
But we were made for Paradise
As deer for the forest
And when music comes to us
With its heavenly beauty
It brings us desolation
For when we hear it
We half remember
That lost native country
We dimly remember the fields
Their fragrant windswept clover
The birdsongs in the orchards
The wild white violets in the moss
By the transparent streams
And shining at the heart of it
Is the longed-for beauty
Of the One who waits for us
Who will always wait for us
In those radiant meadows
Yet also came to live with us
And wanders where we wander.
(Photo is my grandmother at the piano, with my mother and grandfather singing a duet.)Winifred, Percy, Maxine singing

Christmas Past

One of my favourite pictures, circa 1963, is this one of me and my Mum in front of the Christmas tree. It’s badly taken, that’s for sure. Probably from my Grampa Percy’s camera.

When I went to touch it up in photoshop I noticed that my Grandmother Winifred appears reflected in the living room window of my childhood home. Kind of spooky, considering my mother now looks exactly like her.christmas0001(A four generational picture if you take into account that when a girlchild is born all the possible eggs waiting for fertilization and subsequent progeny are within her.)

This picture gives me much joy. My mother always made sure I had a lovely dress to wear on Christmas. Something, no doubt, she herself had sewn for me.

On the tree is a Santa Claus ornament made from a recycled toilet paper tube and cotton baton. Original tinsel which was painstakingly placed piece by piece (no throwing in our family). And taken off the same way, individually piece by piece and stored carefully for the next year.

My mother always took great effort to make a lovely Christmas for us.

Today I’m taking down our real cut Christmas tree. It has been a perfect little tree, not dropping nary a needle over the time it has adorned out house over the festivities. Forty dollars, a small amount to pay for a little Christmas cheer and to support Ontario agriculture.

And as I pack away the treasures of family ornaments I can’t barely keep from crying knowing that my mother’s experience of Christmas is immensely diminished due to advanced dementia.

Even though she is but a ghost of who she once was I am eternally grateful for the memories she gave me of Christmas.