I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Why I am who I am

Pittsburgh, Christmas 1971

I waited, knowing the festivities
Would choke the flow of  transatlantic calls,
Delays which brought their own blank auguries,
A prelude to the saddest of farewells.

“Ah… yes…,” my brother said, quite languidly,
Languor that looked for comfort in delay.
But what he added lacked necessity,
The link was cut and youth had gone astray.

She died within a distant older place
I’d left behind with callow eagerness,
Yet unrestrained by any false embrace,
Encouraged, taught, with chances of success.

She wrote, I write, but here’s the difference
No letters, now, to foil my ignorance.

AUGUST 11 My mother’s birthday. She would have been 107, a cumbersome uninteresting fact. I write because, among other things, she encouraged me. Her poems were published in small magazines.

I did this sonnet a year or two ago, posted it then. The clumsy and obscure eleventh/twelfth lines irritate the hell out of me but I’ll let them be. Defects can be eloquent: revision is more than half the battle.

My mother wrote under her unmarried name: Dorothy Hilda Stringer. A workaday sort of name. It’s all a long time ago. But her interest in what I do still reaches out: full of emotion yet useful.


  1. I lost my mother in the same month, the same year. She was a May baby, born in 1915. I often wonder what she would have been like, had she lived on.

    Your mother's smile is warm and inviting, Robbie. We never have enough time with the good ones, do we?

  2. August 11, my little brother's birthday. He would have been 40 years old this year. Thank you for the sonnet, dear Robbie!

  3. Both: Perhaps I was wrong to dismiss my mother's notional present-day age as cumbersome and uninteresting. The number itself might be but the links with both of you has emotional resonances. Thanks for responding.

  4. Wel, I like your sonnet a great deal and am delighted to meet the woman with the sweet smile in the photograph. I'm glad she encouraged you; she knew what she was doing.

  5. That's a beautiful tribute and sad too - you were in Pittsburgh when she died?

    My Maman departed in August too, the 19th, in 2001. I'll miss her always.

  6. Beth: I am overwhelmed by your gratifying indirectness.

    Nathalie: Worse, I had warning of her condition before Christmas. The telephone has its uses but for news like that one needs the comfort of a human face.