Walking in Search of My Lenore

As I weekly visit my aging mother and tend to her yard, I continue to marvel at her certitude, indeed her satisfaction in noting my many (admitted) shortcomings.

There  has long been welling up inside me a desire to, finally, address the issues that have long made our relationship “complicated”.

The details are not so important as the angst over my inability to overcome her refusal to address them.  To her, I am the blackest of “black sheep”, a “Wednesdays’ Child” predestined to disappoint and vex her.  “Just like your father”, says she.  (“Just like your mother” said he).

In this most basic; most visceral…most complicated of human relationships, I suppose I should not be surprised that,  in middle age, it has grown, rather than diminished in its’ influence on my sensibilities and relationships to a point at which it has to be expressed somehow; someway; someday.

 

That day has come upon me and, I can only match the depth of the sorrow I’ve been feeling lately over it through the grief and sorrow of the lyric poetry of E. A. Poe.  While I’m certain she will never read, nor even hear of this exorcism of my sadness and guilt, its’ complexity and length at least begin to match the feelings purged therein.

 

 

 

 

 

Once again the dreams had started, of an innocence departed,                                                                          

Which from his childish fingers’s grasp did a craven demon wrest,

And he woke to heartbeat throbbing, drenched with sweat, his spirit sobbing,

And his fears about him mobbing, tearing at his tortured breast-

” ‘Tis a nightmare”,  he had muttered, which had marred his fitful rest –

Just a fear made manifest.

 

But the memories were vivid, of a rage so stark and livid,

That they filled his quaking conscience with a dreadful, crimson tide.

From no bottle could he borrow, an elixir for his sorrow,

And he longed to greet the morrow..morrows’ light might help him hide-

The guilt and craven evil which he felt extant deep inside-

Which his acts of ‘Grace ‘ belied.

 

But lo, the passing darkness gave way to a light of starkness,

Illuminating  faults and flaws, all blemishes made plain.

And from its’ glare retreating, he recoiled and hid, repeating

“Cannot God hear my entreating for excision of this stain?”-

“Can it be I do not merit the alleiving of this pain?” –

“Must I in this Hell remain”?

 

Sweet Innocence! Long lost, and faded, this Babe has by life been jaded,

No peals of laughter nor sweet acts of kindness can be wrought

From one in misery drowning, ever fitful, ever frowning

Under Hellish clouds surrounding, for Eternity distraught-

Resigned to never finding the redemption he once sought-

All his ‘good’ deeds done for naught.

 

The revelation cursed him, of  the Mother who had nursed him,

Who had in a pristine journal proudly strove to document

The suckling of her first-born and the special blouse she had worn

But lo, the page had been torn and her sweet joy became lament-

The Babe had bitten cruelly so, she sensed a foul intent.

Evermore would she resent.

 

And, years later, its’ blank pages, spoke mute narrative of rages-                                                                                                    

He had gasped as he had found it on a corner cellar floor

Though only  twelve, he cruelly learned that he must have really earned

The enmity which burned, and the resentment that she bore-

The milk of human kindness from the breast of this Lenore-

To emanate nevermore.

 

Long this guilt within residing, with great effort kept in hiding,

This loathsome ‘mark of Cain’ that he with difficulty bore 

Constantly his spirit sapping,  hellish waters ’round him lapping,

And this Fate his soul entrapping, finally, could he fight no more.

He would take his destined place, on that desolate Stygian shore-

There to reign for evermore.

 

 

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6 responses to “Walking in Search of My Lenore

  1. I happened to have a moment at my desk when this post came my way. It is sad that anyone should have to endure such torture. Knowing you and the outstanding abilities you have makes it even sadder for me. Family relationships are complicated, to use your term, but we don’t choose our parents or siblings. So we endure.
    It is at times like these that one must look elsewhere for that affirmation we all so deeply desire. In your case, you have a wife who adores you (she’s told me–so I know), a mother-in-law who appreciates you and the rock that you have been for her, especially during this past year; a congregation that relies heavily on your many talents as a lector, usher, treasurer; and a pastor who admires the servant of God that you are.
    Most importantly, take comfort in know that God loves you, and other than that, nothing else should really matter.
    Sorry if this sounds extreme or too personal, but it is at times like these that this that we need to hear words that positively reinforce our sense of purpose and meaning in life. Blessings!

    • That this post has reached even one other person is a great comfort to me. That it should be you is a blessing, indeed. Thank you, Shepherd!

  2. I can feel the ache. Your pastor’s post is heartening, though probably not the magic wand one always hopes for.

    I know of no one who doesn’t have parent issues of one variety or another. While me and my Dad were too much alike to be entirely comfortable with each other, he usually managed to make love clear. Mom… she can be too clear. So clear as to be innocent – an innocence that must be protected, not confided in. I’ve had to find others for those words.

    The ache… this seems to hold an echo to what I feel for a close friend who committed suicide. No possibility of answers, no matter how much they are desired.

    And somehow God keeps using us, using them whether they know it or not.

    The Dark Glass

    I Corinthians 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly;…

    I am a dark glass
    Whatever shadows you see in me
    Are of imperfect images
    Light filtered by brokenness
    The imperfections tear at my heart

    Yet it seems
    That these very imperfections
    Are what Providence uses most
    —–

    You are a blessing to more than just those who know you face to face.

    • Thank you for the Corinthians quote.

      You bring up the ‘elephant’ in too many rooms…suicide. I thank you for your concern. I apologize for having channeled my angst in so dark a style, but…it is Poe.

      No worries there. Have been there; done that… and bought the ‘T-shirt’ too. As I note on my “About Me” page, my faith and my wife are my strengths. The fact that I have these counterpoints to the feelings of sorrow and guilt regarding my mother is a blessing. That these bastions of support can allay the need to finally succumb once again to that drastic measure does not, however, reduce their weight on any soul.

      And that is the rub. We are all but human. We must all of us aid each other in learning that the mode and manner of our deaths is in the hands of God, not in ours.

      That I have learned it by the Grace of God makes me all the more aware of the need to share it. A future post has already begun to germinate in my mind.

      I must take care to use a style other than Poe’s to express it.

      Peace be with you always.

  3. Please – no apologies necessary. *smile* Use whatever tools are at your disposal to get thoughts/feelings outside your head. …And you have a lovely gift enabling you to use so many styles.

    Sometimes it’s hard to remember that He didn’t come to FIX anything – He came to redeem. It might be a small dichotomy to some but it gives me room to ponder that it may be to some other purpose than my contentment. Who is watching? What is He trying to get through to THEM? If my pain seems senseless to me, perhaps it is not for me but for some greater good?

    —Ah. Wandering thoughts once again.
    Shalom.

    • “If my pain seems senseless to me, perhaps it is not for me but for some greater good?”

      There it is in a nutshell. Seems to me this very thought was often on the mind of Jesus.

      We all are sinners, but each of us has within us the potential to be a ‘savior’ to our fellow fallen, even if it is only in the form of a ‘soundboard’ for their cries of pain.

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