Thursday, May 17, 2012


image borrowed from bing

My flight as a sentient projectile began in
1944. My mother was 17 years old,
pregnant first at 15, veteran of
a back room abortion, a real horror story
in 1942; pregnant again at 16 with me;
7 months pregnant when she
saw Snoqualamie Pass for
the first time, from the front seat
of a Model A Ford 
watching my grandfather fix
the sixth flat since
leaving Spokane the day
before; her mother already in
Seattle, gone on ahead to work at
Boeings, doing her part for the war
effort, spending a lonely Mother’s Day
cooking for herself and going to
a Deanna Durbin musical film;
whom they said my mother looked like. 
As a child, then adolescent, Mother’s Day
didn’t mean a hell of a lot to me,
another Hallmark designated moment, just
another day where gifts could be
purchased; candy, ribbons, roses and cards.
But in 1966, when my mother was
barely 39 years old, she died
of uterine cancer, looking like
an Aushwitz resident, a ten pound
tumor swelling her uterus, so that
she looked pregnant again as she
bravely waited to give birth to death.
For Christ’s sake that was 
46 years ago, and every 
Mother’s Day since has grown more 
bittersweet. Mother, if I was the
arrow you projected out into this world
with all the strength and verve
you could muster, then you
became the stringless bow
of my misty memories and my
dreams, merely a maternal face
from a few photographs, always with
that flower in your hair.
Tomorrow your day rolls around again, and
that knot of churlish pain in my chest
will arrive, swell and ebb, as it
has always done, as it shall
continue to do until our
rendezvous, our rejoining, as
I shed the old man husk
and again become your boy.
Yes, with regret, I have let your day
come and go in silence, wearing a sad
smile, emotionally mute--but Jesus, not
this one, no. I will joyfully celebrate the
46 Mother’s Days that I had repressed in
my ignorance and arrogance, and
so, mother, whom I now know can
hear my every thought, be reminded that
I love your matronly spirit, and
I thank you so much for
bravely being my bow.
Glenn Buttkus
May 2012

Posted over on dVerse Poets-FFA

Would you like to hear the author read this "sprung rhythm" poem to you?


Claudia said...

this is very moving glenn..and glad you celebrated in memory of her..i remember there were times during teenage years when my mother didn't mean much to me and then there were times she meant the world..

Brian Miller said...

tears moved me to tears....some hard bumps in her story along the way...and sorry you lost her so early in life as well...heavy birth to death...that is where i choked up man...i am glad you gave her the gift of joy this year...

Manicddaily said...

Very very sad - well done too, of course, but sad mainly. Wonderful story telling here as well reflection. k.

Quotes,Photos and a little Poetry said...

what I like most about you, is you can tell you love to write.

Daydreamertoo said...

It has taken you 46 years to realise that your mother never left you.
She will always be your mother and she has probably been waiting so patiently for you to acknowledge her in this way. I'm sure she would have smiled to see your final acceptance of her because that is what it is.
Having lost my mother 2 days before what would have been her 56th birthday, I really do feel the ache you've had for all those years.
From what you've written, I'm sure she would be so very proud of this write.

Beachanny said...

Powerful write, strong words with strong beats that move triumphantly line to line. The idea becomes a history, the history becomes a legend, the legend becomes an emotion and the course catches up to the writer. I'm not sure it would strictly be called "sprung rhythm" but it certainly snaps to its own rhythms, and if slightly uneven, the rhythms spring, line to line, decade to decade. Exceptional work.

Lane Savant said...


henry clemmons said...

Very moving. And the beat and rhythm of the piece kept we reading right along. A very tender write with much heart. I like alot.

Orange UaPoet said...

You crafted such a beautiful poem here, wide open, and to do so in sprung poetry, humbles me, humbles anyone.