Thursday, May 14, 2015

Mothers' Day Remembered

On Mothers' Day long years ago
at our small German Lutheran church in our small town
everyone received a flower-
carnations, either pink or red-
their pungent odor censing the air
red for those whose mothers were still living
pink for those whose mothers had died
brilliant red singing of life
tender pink sighing of death

The ushers handed them out
from two vases filled to overflowing with the blooms
handed them to every one who climbed the stairs 
to the sanctuary on the second floor
handed them to men and women, girls and boys,
since each and all had a mother who had given them life,
who had borne them, gladly or sadly, into this world
a reminder and remembrance, a way 
to honor the sanctity of creation, 
to honor the holiness of every human life, 
to honor the ones who had served as the crucible 
for each life present that day.

And though this was far beyond
my child's understanding, I loved taking flowers
to the cemetery after church, 
loved seeing people tenderly placing gentle pink blossoms 
on the graves of those much-loved
loved seeing the vase on the family dining room table
in which stood five red carnations 
with a pink one in the center for Pop-pop's mother, 
my never-met great-grandmother, held ever and always
in his heart.

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