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A humorous poem to enjoy for Mother's Day...

Discussion in 'Poetry' started by tashidelek2002, May 9, 2010.

  1. tashidelek2002

    tashidelek2002 IL Hall of Fame

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    I was just enjoying the reading of this poem on the tv and thought I would share for Mother's Day. If you want to see the poet read it, it is on youtube.

    The Lanyard - Billy Collins

    The other day I was ricocheting slowly
    off the blue walls of this room,
    moving as if underwater from typewriter to piano,
    from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
    when I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
    where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.

    No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
    could send one into the past more suddenly—
    a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
    by a deep Adirondack lake
    learning how to braid long thin plastic strips
    into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.

    I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
    or wear one, if that’s what you did with them,
    but that did not keep me from crossing
    strand over strand again and again
    until I had made a boxy
    red and white lanyard for my mother.

    She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
    and I gave her a lanyard.
    She nursed me in many a sick room,
    lifted spoons of medicine to my lips,
    laid cold face-cloths on my forehead,
    and then led me out into the airy light

    and taught me to walk and swim,
    and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
    Here are thousands of meals, she said,
    and here is clothing and a good education.
    And here is your lanyard, I replied,
    which I made with a little help from a counselor.

    Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
    strong legs, bones and teeth,
    and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
    and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
    And here, I wish to say to her now,
    is a smaller gift—not the worn truth

    that you can never repay your mother,
    but the rueful admission that when she took
    the two-tone lanyard from my hand,
    I was as sure as a boy could be
    that this useless, worthless thing I wove
    out of boredom would be enough to make us even.

  2. Ansuya

    Ansuya Platinum IL'ite

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    Tina, thank you, THANK YOU for a wonderful poem that pays tribute to mothers not with saccharine sweetness, empty platitudes, and tired cliche, but with honesty, finely-crafted language, and heartfelt emotion.

    It is simply beautiful and has filled me with gratitude, enhanced understanding, and general feelings of all being well with the universe on this, my first Mother's Day as a mother.

    The little one is currently "helping" by re-arranging all the lower shelves in the house, maybe in much the same spirit as the lanyard was made and given ;)
  3. tashidelek2002

    tashidelek2002 IL Hall of Fame

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    Thank you Ansuya...I am glad you enjoyed this.

    I think that the weaving of lanyards (aka boondoggle) is a national pastime (at least in bygone years) of American schoolchildren. You had the round ones, the flat ones, the skinny ones, and the square ones. I remember inflicting these jewels upon my parents and my grandmother after a day's toiling at summer church school. After my father's death, I found a "keychain" that I had fabricated out of dark green and white, the flat weave with a cheap little hook at the end, two inches of glory with unfinished ends sticking out one end....lovingly secreted in my dad's desk.

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