poetry friday roundup: mother’s day edition

“If I had a flower for each time I thought of my mother, I could walk in my garden forever.” ~ Anonymous

Welcome to Poetry Friday at Alphabet Soup!

I’m happy to be back and hosting the Roundup this week. Please help yourself to some strawberry shortcake and green tea.

I made the shortcakes with Bisquick in honor of my mom. We grew up on these, along with Bisquick pancakes and waffles. It’s nice to remember those carefree days before trans fats became a no-no. Care for an extra dollop of real whipped cream? Only the best for you.:)

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🌷 MAY FLOWERS 💐

SONG OF THE FLOWER XXIII
by Khalil Gibran

I am a kind word uttered and repeated
By the voice of Nature;
I am a star fallen from the
Blue tent upon the green carpet.
I am the daughter of the elements
With whom Winter conceived;
To whom Spring gave birth; I was
Reared in the lap of Summer and I
Slept in the bed of Autumn.

At dawn I unite with the breeze
To announce the coming of light;
At eventide I join the birds
In bidding the light farewell.

The plains are decorated with
My beautiful colors, and the air
Is scented with my fragrance.

As I embrace Slumber the eyes of
Night watch over me, and as I
Awaken I stare at the sun, which is
The only eye of the day.

I drink dew for wine, and hearken to
The voices of the birds, and dance
To the rhythmic swaying of the grass.

I am the lover’s gift; I am the wedding wreath;
I am the memory of a moment of happiness;
I am the last gift of the living to the dead;
I am a part of joy and a part of sorrow.

But I look up high to see only the light,
And never look down to see my shadow.
This is wisdom which man must learn.

(1914)

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Mom, me and my brother Newton. She let me call her Margaret:).

Besides being a good cook, my mother was an avid gardener who had an extensive knowledge of tropical plants. Monstera, hapu’u, red ginger, heliconia, plumeria, anthuriums, bird of paradise — she knew them, grew them, filled ceramic vases with blossoms and cuttings. She inherited some of my grandmother’s orchid plants, which thrived under her loving care.

When I complained once about disliking hot weather and the searing Hawaiian sun, she said, “You’re like a greenhouse orchid.” Quite true when considering my finicky personality and love of climate control, but I still took it as a compliment.:)

I am the memory of a moment of happiness;

She was surrounded by pink kalanchoe, white orchids and purple hydrangea when she died. The day before, she had turned in her bed to look up out the window at the beautiful blue sky and the stretch of ocean where she had enjoyed happy fishing days on my brother’s boat. I thought of a line from my favorite Truman Capote short story: “As for me, I could leave the world with today in my eyes.”

But I look up high to see only the light,
And never look down to see my shadow.

She was honored at her memorial service with standing wreaths and sprays of white and yellow chrysanthemums, white gladiolus; pink, white and purple dendrobium, pink roses and carnations, and pink and orange stargazer lilies.

I am the last gift of the living to the dead;
I am a part of joy and a part of sorrow.

Writer friend Candice Ransom says that a white carnation signifies your mother has passed. I will be holding mine close on Sunday, savoring the fragrance of good memories.

If you’ve lost your mother too, these are for you.

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🌹 THE ROUNDUP 🌻

Please leave your links with the ravenous but reliable sausage connoisseur Mr. Linky. Don’t forget to put the name of your poem or title of the book you’re reviewing in parentheses after your name. Thanks for joining us today — enjoy all the poetic goodness being served up in the blogosphere!

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♥ A Special Note from Jane Yolen ♥

I send out a brand new poem every day to subscribers, and the only thing I ask in return is that at month’s end, they either buy a book of mine or borrow one from their local library and read it.

Since I have 350 books out, that should be a piece of cake! More numbers, this is my second year of doing this for subscribers, of whom there are now over 400! It’s also my fourth year of writing a poem a day. Most of the poems I send are adult poems, but occasionally there are new children’s poems as well.

To get on the list, send me an email request: janeyolen (at) aol (dot) com. If the request comes before May 10, I will catch you up on the first ten May poems. After that, you will be started on June 1.

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Happy Mother’s Day to all. What kind of flower is your mother?

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Copyright © 2014 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

58 thoughts on “poetry friday roundup: mother’s day edition

  1. Jama, I loved this eloquent piece; it brought tears to my eyes. Mahalo nui loa for sharing your thoughts and memories of your sweet mother. I’ll be thinking of you on Mother’s Day….Much aloha to you and your ohana.

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  2. Ah, Jama. Such a beautiful way to remember your dear mother, with flowers and love, and strawberry shortcake. Welcome back – you were missed.

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  3. So glad you are back, and that being with all of us is part of weaving the threads of your life back together when they feel unraveled. Thank you for the tender tribute and peek into your past — what a cute baby! Hugs to you!

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  4. Such a beautiful post, Jama.

    My mother’s flower is the iris. She’s collected them, cared for a huge bed of them, and even successfully bred them. She’s the tall straight stem (even though her back is bent now), and she’ll forever be the flamboyant colors and heavenly scent.

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  5. I’ve been thinking of you and your mother too, Jama. What lovely words you used to show more of her to us! I spent so many hours in my mother’s and grandmothers’ gardens. I do grow flowers, but with not quite the same expertise and vibrance they showed us. I never thought about what flower; I guess I would say a rose, delicate and needing extra care perhaps, but beautiful to see and savor. I love the way you wove your words within Gibran’s lines. Very sweet. Thanks for hosting!

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  6. A beautiful post and tribute to your mother. Thanks for coming back to be our special hostess.

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  7. A nice tribute to your mom, Jama! I’m sure she’d be proud of the spread you;ve laid out here, replete with orchids and strawberry shortcake! At a restaurant I once worked at, we’d soak the berries in Cointreau for awhile for a Strawberries Romanoff kind of taste….delicious!

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  8. A beautiful post, Jama! I wanted to let you know I deleted my post The Herons of Haven Point. I was in my usual daze and forgot it was mother’s day this weekend. I’ll save the Herons for another post and try to come up with an appropriate mothers day post. Hopefully you’ll be able to unlink Mr. Linky. I tried but was not able to do so. Thank you, Jama!

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  9. Jama, I’m so sorry to hear of the loss of your mother. Mother’s Day will be hard for you indeed. And I know it doesn’t seem like it now, but it will get less painful as the years go by. Just remember all of the special times you had together. That’s what’s helped me on Father’s Days since I lost my dad.– Your mother is smiling down on you now, looking at the beautiful Mother’s Day blog you’ve created and dedicated to her.

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  10. Thanks for another inspiring and delicious post. Your mother is beautiful. What lovely memories you have of her, even the difficult time of her passing. I will join you in holding that white carnation on Sunday.

    You ask what kind of flower our mom would be. That’s a tough one as Mom was a gardener who loved all kinds of flowers, but I distinctly remember the brilliant tuberous begonias that she grew. They were her–quiet, happy to be in the shade, but when you got up close, gorgeous and bright.

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  11. Aww, this made me tear up, Jama. I relished every word here just like your strawberry shortcake, the cream wild in my mouth – with remembrances. My mother is a great cook too – she makes an unforgettable meat spaghetti and paella. A cousin once said that my mother can transform anything into a gourmet delectable earthy dish to be enjoyed by all. She is all rose.
    My spirit joins you in remembrance.
    Sending you light and love.

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  12. What a perfect post, Jama. You picked just the right poem and put it all together beautifully. My mother can grow anything, and at the moment she is quite into growing orchids, so I will have to choose orchid for her. Thanks for hosting.

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  13. Jama, this is so beautiful. Your mother gave you a gift of grace, this is for sure. Thank you for offering us some of her beauty this week., and thank you for hosting too I am printing and tucking this post into my notebook.

    At The Poem Farm, I have a small Mother’s Day poem for a dad.

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  14. What a lovely post and tribute to your mother, Jama! Thank you so much, as always, for the beauty you put into the world. The photo of you and your mother and brother is priceless…

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  15. Jama, thank your for sharing this lovely tribute to your mother. I love that she called you a greenhouse orchid. I think our mothers know things about us we sometimes don’t know ourselves. As for my mom, she’d be a yellow rose. They are her favorite. Not quite predictable, but classic, and yes, thorns! xo

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  16. I wasn’t going to read this post because I knew it would make me cry (it did), but I wanted to see more pictures of your mother and you. She was so beautiful–and weren’t you the little apple dumpling?

    The flowers, the poem, that stunning line about leaving with today in your eyes. I loved reading about the exotic flowers your mother grew. Ours tended to be very provincial and common–the flower bed had bachelor buttons, tiger lilies . . . phlox grew down the banks of our driveway and the forsythia spouted yellow in the spring. My mother took a slip of Rose of Sharon from *her* mother and planted it by the well.

    When we moved here, I tried a Rose of Sharon, hydrangea, lilac, and forsythia. Nothing lived (we have the worst dirt ever). I plant pots of pink geraniums, pink begonias around the mailbox, and call it a day.

    My mother was born in June and died in June. She is roses. But especially a Rose of Sharon.

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  17. Jama, it’s so good to see you. Your tribute to your mother is lovely. I sent my mother a clematis for mother’s day. She loves the purple flowers and the way they climb.

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  18. What a PERFECT Mother’s Day Post, Jama. Lovely photos too, as usual! Thanks so much for hosting Poetry Friday today!

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  19. Welcome back, Jama. What a lovely tribute to your mother.

    My mother loved flowers–the more colourful and exotic the better. She liked to paint them and always had some on her tables. She especially liked flowers that grew in Hawaii, so I’ll say she was a bird of paradise.

    Hugs.

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  20. Jama, what a beautiful post about your mother. Sending hugs and sympathy and love again to you!

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  21. Jama, Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your mom with us, and for sharing the flowers of the islands–I can smell the fragrance now.
    My mom isn’t a flower, she always complained that she had a brown thumb. I think living in the desert had something to do with that. My mom was a bird–a hummingbird.
    I’m not ready for Mother’s Day yet, I’m still working on the ninth of May.
    Thanks for hosting us.

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  22. What a beautiful post and tribute to your mother and the flowers. That first quote you started with, “If I had a flower for each time…” went right to my heart. Gibran’s poem is exquisite and perfect for your topic. I love “slept in the bed of Autumn” and especially love the last two stanzas and the ways you reference them. Thank you.

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  23. Thanks for sharing this wonderful tribute to your mother–may your memories of her always be a “look up high to see only the light.”
    (My mother loved purple orchids, like those in the may flowers painting.)

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  24. Beautiful post, Jama! Your mother will be smiling down. I love that poem too. All I know is my mum hates lilies. Dad bought her some once and she threw them in the bin. She reall can’t complain that dad has hardly bought flowers since. Any normal person would have kept them but said which flower they prefer. *hugs* Jama

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  25. What a beautiful post and tribute to your lovely mother, Jama! And I love how you wove Gibran’s words into yours. Thank you for the white carnations. We’ll be both remembering our Moms today (and everyday.) Warmest wishes!

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  26. Darling Jama,

    My mother’s favorite poets are Chopin, Mozart, Beethoven Brahams, Ogden Nash and Dorothy Parker. I can’t put my finger on what flower she is. And she’s still flowering at 91.

    My father’s favorite poet was Kahlil Gibran. Such evocative lines…all that have been cited and even the descriptive beginning,”I am a star fallen from the Blue tent upon the green carpet…”

    You way of weaving this post together is simply stunning.

    Your fan,
    April

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  27. Your mother sounds like she was a lovely person. Your life in Hawaii reminds me of my relatives and my parents’ lives there. (I’m a katunk-head…) My mother is also an avid gardener, and her mother used to grow beautiful flowers and sell them in the wealthier neighborhoods in the hills of Honolulu. The flowers in Hawaii are sooo beautiful and the fragrance is so intense. Maybe because of the heat and humidity!

    My parents went to Farrington High and Roosevelt High. They are the same generation as your mom– I wonder if their paths ever crossed….

    Beautiful post as always..:)

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  28. This is so beautiful, Jama. Thanks so much for sharing. My mother’s been gone 22 years and I still miss her. She was more of a cook than a gardener, but she always had some little purple violets growing along the walk near our vegetable garden. They still make be think of her, so I guess I’d say that’s the flower she’d be. (No coincidence that I have two pots of purple African violets in my house.)
    Blessings and hugs to you.

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  29. Took me a week of journeying to make it to this post, Jama – I knew it would be one I couldn’t just casually take in. So, so beautiful – your words, the flowers, your mother, you. Thank you for sharing all of it.

    I’m thankful to still have my mother, and she’s a daisy – honest and unassuming and lovely.
    XOXO to you.

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  30. I’ve been out of the country and had not heard the news about your mom, Jama. I’m so sorry for your deep loss, but glad you were able to be with her in the end. This is a beautiful post. My mom has been gone for 26 years now, and I love thinking about what flower she would be. I think some sort of tundra blossom — she was full of courage to bloom come what may.

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