joshwriting: (Default)
Three years ago, long about now, my mother died abruptly, though she had been dying in quiet (and not so quiet) ways for a while, before and after we noticed.

She left behind 2 and a half novels, 5 children's books (4 of which had peel-and-sticks), and a broad variety of poetry, including her (almost) epic quasi-children's poem-story, Ermengard Bear.

As the yahrzeit candle burns down, I'm contemplating what to do with her works. I like her writing, for the most part, but that does not mean there is a market for it. I kind of like the idea of tampering with it - bringing the out-of-date pieces up to date or twisting them to make the out-of-date parts work in a modern or beyond-modern world.

Yet, I am somewhat daunted. I am not among those who has every done NaNoWriMo nor even written any complete fiction longer than perhaps 10 pages (unless you count my research papers and technical writing documents). To rewrite, to undo and redo what was carefully written by my mother, may be a bigger task than I can handle - or than I really want to handle.

Yet, if I wish to give her work a longer life than my own death, something more must be done than merely having them on an unlinked, unsought, unlooked at website.

There are parts of my mother that I miss, parts that I would share given my druthers. Some of these are reflected in her writing. Some are reflected in mine.

Perhaps I can make this 4th year after her death the year in which either Moonlight in Gstaad or Fandango make there way from my own personal slush pile into the light of day (or laptop screen).

After all, I have homework that needs procrastinating from! And if anything would be a fitting tribute to my relationship with my mother - beyond my having gotten my undergrad degree on her birthday - it would be putting off my class assignments to work on her novels!

Farewell to the Court

Like truthless dreams, so are my joys expir'd,
And past return are all my dandled days;
My love misled, and fancy quite retir'd
Of all which pass'd the sorrow only stays.

My lost delights, now clean from sight of land,
Have left me all alone in unknown ways;
My mind to woe, my life in fortune's hand
Of all which pass'd the sorrow only stays.

As in a country strange, without companion,
I only wail the wrong of death's delays,
Whose sweet spring spent, whose summer well-nigh done
Of all which pass'd only the sorrow stays.

Whom care forewarns, ere age and winter cold,
To haste me hence to find my fortune's fold.

Sir Walter Raleigh
joshwriting: (Default)
"Goodnight!" I've said a dozen times.
And yet she lingers near.
"I wonder, Mother, will it rain?
Why can't I wear that blouse again?

And is it true,
For I've heard it said,
That each man finds his mate?

And can you tell me
How it is
That x must equal 8?

She's getting older, that I know.
She used to ask for water,
And one more kiss, and one hug more,
Til Sleep crept up and caught her.

Water... kisses... now are past.
Her mind's a broader sweep.
And yet it's only camouflage.
"Do I have to go to sleep?"



Dec. 20th, 2009 12:18 am
joshwriting: (Default)
We're lovers still. His hand
Holds mine in warm, familiar clasp.
The rusting gate is slow to close.
I must repair the hasp.

We're sweethearts yet. His arm
Around my shoulders holds me near.
This room is chill. The months
Fall on to the bottom of the year.

We're grown so old. His eyes
Hold love as he turns round to me.
"Sit down, my dear, and rest awhile.
I'll brew a pot of tea."



Mar. 5th, 2009 10:35 pm
joshwriting: (Default)
By the Jewish calendar, a year has passed since my mother's death, though a few days remain on the Christian calendar - a calendar to which, honestly, I am more responsive than that of my ancestors.

Still, the concept of yahrzeit and the burning of a yahrzeit candle make more than a certain sense to me. So, we lit the candle to mark the passage of time and the memory of Frances Shaine.

And oh! my love, for you.
High birds crying, and a
High sky flying, and a
High wind driving, and a
High heart striving, and a
High brave place for you!

-- Paul Linebarger
joshwriting: (Default)
The sun has set this flaming day.
(That verse was penned by E. Millay.)
The snow fall's soft; the pony's lost.
(That stanza's famous: Robert Frost.)

When I would plumb the Soul's dim core,
It's Henley's, glimpsed from foreign shore.
And when the seas my thoughts immersed,
I find that Masefield got there first.

England fair or murder foul?
I'm shrouded deep in Shakespeare's cowl.
And Love's warm whisper, sweet and clear?
Then Barrett-Brownings' voice I hear.

I know no single verse unversed,
No ode uncoded, curse uncursed.
There's just one realm whose bard I be:
The expert's I; the subject's me.

Frances Shaine
1929 - 2008


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