Saturday, May 12, 2007

Lilies and Headstones...a repost for Mother's Day

for'll always be with me

Mother climbs from her grave nightly,
the moon sliding, bone white, along that
fragile passage from day's end to beginning.
She re-arranges plastic flowers, talks
to other coffin-freed friends, polishes
the naked cross guarding the faithful dead.

Lilies once bordered the shrubs
surrounding our house like a moat.
White ones. Yellow ones. Striated ones.
Soft scented sentinels poking their heads
up through the warm soil each Spring.
My mother's pride.

Fake carnations grace her headstone now.
Stiff, like the bodies lined in neat rows
beneath her; cold like her own body
which will never again climb into a warm bed
or scatter the crows that yet steal
from our abandoned cherry tree.

They suck the fruit cheerfully, despite
old clattering pans, and one rotten scarecrow
with eyes picked as empty as the spaces
where lilies once danced with the wind.

Pris Campbell

This poem took second in the December 2004 IBPC

Comments from the judge:

How could one not read the first line of this poem and not want to read the next? "Lilies and Headstones" had me from the beginning, and took me places I never expected. The poem could've easily slipped into sentimentality, the poet telling us how they feel instead of showing us that marvelous scarecrow at the end, eyes picked empty. --David Hernandez

Published in Remark Journal Fall 2006


Pat Paulk said...

I think I read this before. A beautiful memorial for your mother. I've tried numerouse times to write for my mother and father and they just don't work.

Pris said...

Hi Pat
I posted it some time again , but can't remember when. Yes, hard to write about our parents. S.A. Griffin has a powerhouse of one on MySpace. If you follow my MySpace link to the right and click on S.A. in my friends list, you can find it.

DeadMule said...

Very nice, Pris. Love, Helen

Pris said...

Thanks, Helen.

Liz said...

Did read it but gave me something to think about :) Thanks

Pris said...

Thanks for stopping by, Liz.

steve said...

I like the scarecrow at the end, too...this is really good!

Pris said...

Thanks, Steve!

ezb said...

great poem! often mothers day poems can be a little mawkish but this is sharp.

Pris said...

Hi ezb
I appreciate your comment. And welcome!