Sunday, June 21, 2009

Poetry is for the Soul...Another Poem

Tomorrow is our new Treasure Hunt. It begins at 9:00 AM EST.

The Viewing

Carole Shukle

Copyright 1998.

An urgency to see my mother

in death propels

me toward her--a sleepwalker.

I admire the white birch

coffin; its simple elegant

lines so like my mother.

I envision loose skin

draped in folds

over a skeletal frame,

like surplus material

overrunning a table.

I imagine raven hair

turned gray and brittle

and clothes swamping

her now frail body.

I see swirling baby-blue

satin cushioning her eternal bed.

Etched on the lid--a stand

of poplars brings to mind

a walk in the woods.

Nostalgia fills my spirit,

until I remember her sightless


Perusing my mother's face,

my fear vanishes like chalk

from a blackboard. My sadness

tempers. Her ebony hair curls

about her cheeks. Her glasses

perch on her nose,

as if she had fallen asleep

reading. Her skin, plum and taut,

evokes a memory of mom

in the kitchen laughing

as she whips up a cake:

a mom of more than eight years

ago, a mom I had almost forgotten.

Her empty stare now hides behind

an expression of peace.

Hesitating, I touch her granite-cold

hand. Her skin is like hardened stone

turned smooth by eons of running water.

Marble statues come to mind.

She is like a Russian egg:

yoke sucked out, a mere work

of art, no essence. I am content

to let her go.

*Published in Wordwrights! Spring, 1999.

My Mom died after being sick for 8 years. She died of complications of Alzheimer's. I am not truly convinced of this. I think she may have been trapped in her body after a series of mini-strokes, but we will never know. My Dad cared for her at home, which nearly killed him. I think I would rather have Alzheimer's and not know anything than to be awake inside my body but unable to communicate. It was a slow progression, but for the last four years she was not much more than a vegetable. She could do nothing for herself. She died in 1984. My mother was the kindest and sweetest of Mothers. I really miss her.



  1. Carole - What a beautiful poem about your loss, I am sorry she died the way she did, and can tell you really miss her.

  2. Thanks, Pam. She meant a lot to me. :)

  3. Your poem is beautiful, Carole. Again, another loving tribute. I lost my mother in April 2008, and I miss her every day. Like you, I "lost" my mom long before she died to physical and mental illness. It is so comforating for me to remember her from many years ago, when we laughed and shared so much. Thinking of you, hugs, allie

  4. wonderful sentiments, I too miss my mother who passed away four years ago. I still think of her often.

  5. Thanks so much, Marlene and means so much that you guys are enjoying my poetry. :)

  6. Allie & Marlene - Sorry for your losses as well!


  7. Hi Carole, What a wonderful poem to honor your mother, obviously so important to you.
    I lost my mother in 2004 to Alzheimer's, and my father to the same in 1993 (although I think his may have been strokes.) It is a horrible fate, whether truly AD or mini-strokes, to see someone suffering so. Thankfully they are at rest now.
    Peace, Judi
    P.S. Off to check out the flowers

  8. Carole...
    Your photography is stunning and your poetry is beautiful. It makes me sad to read all the comments above, seeing how deeply everyone misses their mom. I am fortunate to still have my 92 year old mother living with me. It is difficult to see her become fragile as she ages, but I am blessed to be able to spend time with her.