Pittsburgh, Christmas 1971
I waited, knowing the festivitiesWould 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 placeI’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 differenceNo 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.