To See My Mom

[This picture is actually my mom in 1955. – Owen]

I do not know which is further
The seventeen hundred miles to see my mom
Or the sixty years since this photo was taken

Each needs the aid of human technology to be crossed:
Plane rides today, for my wife and me
Or this photo, snapped by my dad in Japan
And loaded by my brother-in-law onto the Internet

There, my mom, but twenty-four years old
Is sitting across the world, in Japan
Today, my mom is eighty-four years old
With Parkinson’s, heart troubles, macular degeneration
Recently moved into an Assisted Living facility

The stylish young woman of the photo
Now, having seen so many lives,
And dreamed so many dreams,
Still does —

This is my mom
Who I have always known
And who I do not know

As the farthest distances to travel
Are still those

Between two people

Trying to really



(“To See My Mom” – 3-3-2015)

my first heroine

your sunset was my sunrise. all the same,
you laughed to see the joy you thought i felt.
there was a bit of irony in this:
but i was in my taking phase, and so,
took you for granted, and your grace as due.

i know, because our roles are now reversed:
not times of life, but just how free you are;
although you’re rapidly approaching night,
you’ve found your grace again, and i can’t help
but glory in the wonder of it all.

for you were my first heroine; behold,
a time beside the waters, when you were
a dark young woman, with a tiny child;
whose life was stretched before her, like the sea —
as fathomless as any distant sea.

but now, our conversation breaks into
a strange, disjointed type of décollage;
like sunlight dancing on the waters edge:
a fading into something more than light,
and something less that turns into a song.

Hillside Tears

Dying moments, holding hands,
Picture-books from other lands,
Misty mountains, desert sands,
All of this she gave me

Silliness and idle laughter,
Water rides and aloe after,
Tales recalled by verse and chapter,
Lessons taught to save me

From the world and from tomorrow;
How to greet both joy and sorrow
Knowing time’s a thing we borrow,
Loving one another —

Night the hillside tears are sending:
All the love-years she was spending,
And me never comprehending,
Th’range her pride could cover —

But she was

A mother

Reynold’s Hill

There, past the stanchion, on the street,
Sad little boy with his only friend:
Rain has been falling, beat on beat,
Evening is crawling, nights don’t end —

Where is the hand to smooth his face?
Where are the arms to hold him close?
She’s sleeping under Reynold’s Hill,
Just past a soggy

They Called to Say…

They called to say you would no longer eat,
Or take your meds, or try to live at all;
The first I ever knew, at last to go
To follow Dad behind the giant wall

We love, but then in parenthood, it seems
That love is asymmetrical and strange;
Yet nothing is more normal than this love
That bonds us past our years, and strength, and range

There comes a time when we must yield the ghost
And move offstage, for all our lines are done;
But how I wish it need not be today,
As do us all – we creatures of the sun

I know I must accept this fate, this choice;
For from you came my reason, and my voice —

  And still I wish it wasn’t – wasn’t so —
  That you would leave,
  And I watch you

  Let go

my mother, now

(Photos taken March of 2015. – Owen)


‘slowing down.. forgetful…’
these were my sister’s terms:
a visit, then, to see my mom
these things indeed confirms

but four score and five years is long
to be upon this earth;
including nearly three score since
the first of us was given birth

but my mom — she does not look back;
she forward-looking ever is —
and pain and loss-of-function have not
dimmed anticipation

for though the sun may slowly set,
and day give way at last to night,
she will not vanish from the fight,
nor give in to temptation

to not do what she can while there’s still light to see around:
nor cease from living while there still is living to be found

My Mother, Now

(Photos taken March of 2015. – Owen)

Mother, Son & Cat

The only really convincing arguments don’t use words.

If you could freeze this moment, this feeling

And share it,

No one would ever doubt

There is a heaven —

Except, possibly

The cat


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Photo credit : © Alenkasm | Dreamstime.comMother And Child Playing With Cat Photo