I kick off Poetry Week with what I refer to as my signature piece, Mom and Bocelli. Today is Mom’s birthday, so I thought it fitting.
Mom was born Lois Jane Holmes in Lansford, PA, February 18, 1921. She loved her family and instilled “loving family” in all of us. She was a seamstress, a crossword and quote-acrostic puzzler, a meatloaf to beef bourguignon chef. She could jitterbug and waltz; she liked the classics and opera and big bands. She studied French and Welsh and could pronounce Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch (it’s a town in Wales and if you don’t believe me, here’s a YouTube pronunciation). And she loved Phillies baseball – she took notes and could discuss trades and stats with anybody.
I miss her awful.
Mom and Bocelli
Mom introduced me to Andrea Bocelli several years before she died,
And he comforted her throughout her final days.
He’s blind, you know. I did not.
I loved to watch her, sitting in her favorite chair, body rocking, eyes closed.
I imagine her still, mouthing words she could not pronounce,
Italian opera coming through the speakers of her silver boom box.
Before I left the coast, before she died,
I bought two tickets instead of paying several overdue bills.
She said, Dear, I haven’t been to a concert since the Dorseys.
And I said, Well, we’re going.
We drove to Philly and talked about mother-daughter stuff,
And listened to his tender voice melt through the speakers of the silver sedan.
We had two tickets and two tuna sandwiches.
At the over-under bridge, there was a back-up,
and we started to laugh about needing a bathroom,
and we agreed that you should not laugh when you need a bathroom.
Then we laughed harder still.
Inside, we sat above,
And there he was.
We were close enough to see the grizzle in his beard.
Before long, Mom and I cried and held hands.
Near the end he sang our favorite, “Nessun Dorma.”
We squeezed hands and sobbed and soaked a pile of tissues.
Through those tear-stained eyes, I will always see my mother.
Stay tuned, please. Poetry Week will continue with Beverley Hoyles, Shirani Rajapakse, Mairi McCloud, Pamela Wight, and then a few more selections by me next weekend here and as a guest on Heartspoken with Elizabeth H. Cottrell.