Sunday, September 1, 2013

September 1: Poetry Headaches, Classic Saint Marty, New Cartoon

I have been working all day on my new poem.  I've made some progress, but I'm still not ready to send it out into the world yet.  Sorry, folks.

However, I do have a Classic Saint Marty to share today.  This episode first aired on May 8, 2011.  It was Mother's Day, and I wrote a poem that I read at a church service.  I won't give anything away.

Let's just say it wasn't one of Saint Marty's proudest moments.

May 8:  Mother's Day, Poem, Weeping

It is Mother's Day in the United States.  Aside from Christmas, more people got to church on this day than on any other Sunday in the calendar year.  I guess kids feel obligated to make their moms happy, even if it means having to rise early, dress up, and attend a worship service.  Anything for mom.  I also imagine this day is the biggest for people going to Sunday brunch at restaurants, as well.  One or two days out of the year, we all fulfill our sonly or daughterly obligations.  Tomorrow we can all go back to being our normal, self-centered selves.

At church today, I read my new poem.  I wrote it last night because I wasn't happy with one of my old poems I was going to use.  It didn't seem quite right to me.  So, after Lawrence Welk was over last night, I sat down and wrote the poem at the end of this post.  It took me about an hour-and-a-half.  Of course, I'd been thinking about the poem most of the day.  I had it pretty much all planned out.  That's why it didn't take me too long.

When I read my poem this morning, my one goal was not to cry when I read it.  I practiced it five or six times without getting too emotional.  I thought I was free and clear.  Then the pastor decided to play a video that got the entire congregation and the choir weeping.  I could feel the tears sitting in my throat like a fist afterward.  I knew I was sunk.  I got to the last three lines of the poem, and I choked up, started to cry.  After about 15 or 20 seconds, I was able to finish.  Then I had to sit down and play Schubert's "Ave Maria."  Holy crap, I think every Kleenex box in the place was empty.  My friend who was singing the song lost composure about half-way through.  Everybody was sobbing.

I guess talking, thinking, singing, writing about mothers does this to people.  I think it has something to do with mothers' selfless love.  It's a love that goes on and on, through childhood, through adulthood, and beyond.  It's the kind of love I think God has for each and every one of us.  That's what Mother's Day is really about.

Saint Marty wishes all mothers a blessed, peaceful day.

For Mother's Day at Mitchell U.M.C.

I was 18 the first time I saw
My mother cry.  Arthritis invaded
Her spine, stiffened her vertebrae
Until, on that morning, she couldn't
Cough or lift a coffee cup without
Feeling whipped, scourged.
She'd given birth to nine children,
Her youngest daughter with Down's,
A baby the doctors told her to forget,
Put in an institution, walk away,
Erase, like a hurricane after waters recede.
But Mother brought my sister
Home, began the hard work of mothering.
Feeding,  Diapers.  Teaching.  Colors.
Letters.  Numbers.  Watched my sister
Laugh, walk, speak, do all the things
Doctors said she would never do.
My sister flourished like an orchid
In the hothouse of my mother's love,
Became exotic and beautiful, healthy.
If my mother cried when the doctors
Used the words "mongoloid," "retarded,"
She never said.  If she cried
When my sister took her first impossible
Step, she never said.  If she cried
When my sister first called her "mommy,"
She never said.  The day I saw my mother
Cry, she felt helpless, old, reduced.
Like Mary, she realized she couldn't
Carry every cross for her baby. 
Ave, Mother, Ave.

Confessions of Saint Marty

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