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.
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.
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.