For my mum a poem

Posted: April 29, 2011 in poems
Tags: , , ,

This blog has been neglected since my mother died a week ago. But writers write, and so I wrote. Not in public at first, but in the dark of the night, in thought and grief. This is the poem and I’ll just mention the background:

Dad and I watched her iris come out in the garden – a single white iris standing alone but spectacularly beautiful. She and he had waited and watched every year for this one flower. A sort of ritual. Sadly, she died three days before it flowered this year.

She would have been pleased to die on the Queen’s birthday (she loved her) and furious to miss today’s Royal Wedding pageantry – we got our first colour television in order to watch Princess Margaret get married. So today, I have watched for her, and shed a tear. But mostly, I wrote this poem in memory of her and her favourite iris.

I’m no poet but I post it here in tribute to a life well lived. Thanks for everything, Mum.

The iris

Three days –

and then her iris bloomed

yellow-white, a flag unfurled,

yet we missed its coming, pale as death,

on the third noon

counted from when she left.

Throwing off its skeletal form

remote and gaunt,

the shroud of precious petals flared,

and released itself to life.

We heard her then,

after the deadness of her missing –

a softly whispered cadence

wafting on the breeze

curled within a fleeting sigh:

When you see this here

am I.

  1. Bec says:

    It’s a beautiful and moving poem, Eleanor. I love the line about the ‘flag unfurled’. Sorry for your loss.


  2. Thanks, Bec. It’s painful but happens to everyone. I’ll recover!


  3. geoffnelder says:

    I can relate to this beautiful poem, Eleanor. Both mum and dad loved plants, and my tumbleweed garden is made more meaningful by having some of their favourites – including iris – be there for them, and so, for me.


  4. Thanks, Geoff. It’s her not being here that I can’t get my head around. But the reminders will be comforting in future, if not now. And the iris in Dad’s garden will always be special.


  5. Betty Taylor says:

    Beautifully haunting and very apt. Sorry to hear of your loss – it’s tough losing your Mum.


  6. Hi Betty, thanks for your message and for dropping by. Much appreciated.


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