I have been guiltily lurking in the Twitterverse lately and I noticed several threads, or series of tweets, that try to guide expectant writers through the perils of publication. Expectant writers are much like expectant surrogate mothers. They wish to deliver their work into safe and friendly hands, to be nurtured and adored as they themselves would have done.
The effort to map out the process is much appreciated by aged ingenues such as myself, people who have barely dipped a toe in the pond of publication, for fear of being swallowed by an alligator. The desire to be in that pond in the first place is often not original at all, despite the originality, which all individual authors profess to espouse. The desire to be published is actually often transmitted through the generations, with each younger generation observing the disappointments or successes of the previous one.
When I think of my departed mother, I find it bittersweet. This is partly because I know that, despite publishing far more than I ever have, she felt keenly the disappointment that accompanies rejection or indifference. Anyway, this poem is meant to caress and encourage the poets and writers among us, and to commemorate, most particularly, the one who brought me into being. Thanks for coming by to read!
Far from me, yet not forgotten,
Relic of a distant age,
Your fingerprints are everywhere.
Patterns creep across my psyche.
Rhythms link hands on the page.
Hidden well beneath a blanket,
Quilted scenes, a captured life.
Colorful yet cheery, stitched
Together with your signature,
Your vow, to be a mother, wife.
Haunted by your quest for order.
Always quivering, at my lack.
You straighten out my rumpled corners,
Dust my belfry, sweep my drive,
In case some visitors attack.
How cruelly was your Inspiration
Quelled, near-drowned: infanticide.
And yet, you kept your many notebooks,
Penned your travels, marked occasions.
Gulped the insult, deep inside.
That I may be as brave as you,
And link arms with Oblivion,
And march, without a glance behind
(To see how others rate my walk)
And scream, like Kafka, in the dark,
Unheard, unnoticed, until dawn.
Copyright 2022 Andrea LeDew
For other poems on writing read To the Poet, A Word and specifically on the disappointment of having others judge you as mediocre, read The Weight of Words. For another poem about my mother read Mother.