Sunday, May 1, 2011

Author, Magdalena Ball, Mother's Day Poetry!

Oh Mother

 It’s nearly Mother’s Day, just in case you hadn’t begun giving that a little thought.  Speaking as both mother and daughter, it’s hard to beat something home-made (especially when your recipient is paying the bills!).  If you’re up to it, why not write a little poem for your mother, maybe coupled with a bouquet of flowers, her favourite tea (I like Celestial Seasonings’ Tension Tamer, thanks), and a home-made card.  If you aren’t up to that, the next best thing is someone else’s poetry, and I heartily endorse books of poetry for any gift, especially if you’ve taken a little time to choose something tailored for the occasion.  The magnificent Carolyn Howard-Johnson and I have put together an award winning book of poetry designed just for mothers titled She Wore Emerald Then.  The book has a beautiful colour cover by photographer May Lattanzio and contains thirty poems that reflect on motherhood.  Two sample poems follow, along with a link to me reading the first one.  JR McRae called the book “A book of finely cut gems to hold, admire, let their multi-facets flash their messages to mind, and the fine sharp edges of each plane hold the image indelibly.”  In any case, and however you decide to celebrate your mother, grandmother, or the mother of your children, Happy Mother’s Day! 

Mother’s Bed

In the restless night

when mortality lurks in every shadow

the blanket won’t cover your fear

and morning is a half-forgotten dream

vague and uncertain,

slink into my bed

the pillow holds a mother’s secret

whispered charm

you can sink your head into.

There are no demons here;

no whirlwind of memory and anticipation clouding sleep

only eternal warmth

a shared space

free from the ticking illusion

of time, motion, and change.

Here, where you are always welcome

nothing matters

except this peace

this place

containing every possible now.

in the primeval heat

four billion years

before you opened

one puffy eye

the chemical imbroglio

of our home

shouted your name

from the depths of its seabed

no more miraculous

than the smack of light

against your heaving diaphragm

in the random accident

of your arrival

contingency or collaboration

paternal will or

lucky break

makes no difference

you are life itself

the stunning complexity

of DNA woven

within each cell

culmination of every moment

that gave rise to this one

changing everything

sloppy, sleepy



your carbon atoms

common as the earth

beneath your first steps

the organised complexity

of your extraordinary


couldn’t be simpler

as you reach a tentative


towards the future

Magdalena Ball runs The CompulsiveReader. She is the author of the poetry books Repulsion Thrust and Quark Soup, the novel Sleep Before Evening, a nonfiction book The Art of Assessment, and, in collaboration with Carolyn Howard-Johnson, Blooming Red, Cherished Pulse, She Wore Emerald Then, and Imagining the Future. She also runs a radio show, The Compulsive Reader Talks.  Find out more about Magdalena at 

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Donna M. McDine said...

Hi Maggie:

I purchased your book for my mom last year and she loves it! My mom always liked homemade gifts the best, now I'm the same way too!

Best wishes for your continued success,

Karen Cioffi said...

Maggie, these are two beautiful poems. I especially love Mother's Bed!The poetry books sounds like it will be an excellent and memorable gift.

Magdalena Ball said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Margot Finke said...

Loved Magdalena's poems and her book sounds wonderful. What talent!!

Margot’s Magic Carpet

Magdalena Ball said...

Thanks Kathy for hosting me, and to Donna and Karen for your lovely comments.

Mari said...

Great poems! I dabble a bit in poetry. Maybe I will actually write my mom a poem this year. Thanks for the inspiration.

kathy stemke said...

Thanks for visiting Magdalena and her wonderful poetry everyone.

You're so creative and unusual Maggie-two characteristics that I love in a person.

It was an honor hosting you.

Margaret Fieland said...

Donna, thanks for hosting Maggie Maggie, thanks for the lovely poems

Martha said...

What a wonderful gift idea. The poems are just beautiful!

Heidiwriter said...

A perfect gift for mother's day!

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Maggie, thanks for letting me know about this. I'll tell you, getting into a blog to read or comment is not easy from a ship's computer.At any rate, it is worth the effort to thank Kathy for including our perfect Mother's Day gift on her blog today! I have to tell you that collaborating with Maggie is pure joy.
Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Sharing with Writers newsletter AllTips edition coming up. Subscribe at

kathy stemke said...

Thanks for making the effort to stop by Carolyn. This is a lovely book authored by Maggie and yourself. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Poetry is a great gift to give. Some people memorize poems and make up a tune so they can sing it. I wonder if many of the gospel hymns were ended up like this? Thanks for the post and an early Happy Mothers Day to all.

kathy stemke said...

Thanks for stopping by Stephen!

Virginia S Grenier said...

What a great post right before Mother's Day weekend. Too bad I'm visiting after the fact, but still a great post and book.