Two Poems about Mothers

For all my eccentricities (there are 42, I counted), the one thing I am very serious about is poetry. As an English teacher, it is probably my favourite aspect of the subject. There is such a wealth of beautiful poetry out there and there is nothing more rewarding than searching for your own meaning in a verse. (Except pizza. Pizza is always more rewarding.) 

Here are two poems written by Irish poets that I think you guys will enjoy. The both have a common theme, in that both poets are fondly remembering their mothers and their respective memories of them.

The first is by one of my favourite poets, Seamus Heaney. This poem was recently chosen as Ireland’s favourite poem. 

When all the others were away at Mass

When all the others were away at Mass
I was all hers as we peeled potatoes.
They broke the silence, let fall one by one
Like solder weeping off the soldering iron:
Cold comforts set between us, things to share
Gleaming in a bucket of clean water.
And again let fall. Little pleasant splashes
From each other’s work would bring us to our senses.

So while the parish priest at her bedside
Went hammer and tongs at the prayers for the dying
And some were responding and some crying
I remembered her head bent towards my head,
Her breath in mine, our fluent dipping knives–
Never closer the whole rest of our lives.

(For those of you who may not be aware of what ‘Mass’ is, it’s what Catholic people call going to church.)

The next poem is similarly poignant and evocative. It is by Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh.

In Memory of My Mother

I do not think of you lying in the wet clay 
Of a Monaghan graveyard; I see 
You walking down a lane among the poplars 
On your way to the station, or happily 

Going to second Mass on a summer Sunday – 
You meet me and you say: 
‘Don’t forget to see about the cattle – ‘ 
Among your earthiest words the angels stray. 

And I think of you walking along a headland 
Of green oats in June, 
So full of repose, so rich with life – 
And I see us meeting at the end of a town 

On a fair day by accident, after 
The bargains are all made and we can walk 
Together through the shops and stalls and markets 
Free in the oriental streets of thought. 

O you are not lying in the wet clay, 
For it is a harvest evening now and we 
Are piling up the ricks against the moonlight 
And you smile up at us – eternally.


I hope you enjoyed these lovely poems. They certainly evoke some powerful emotions in me. Have a great evening 🙂

A Poem for Parents

Julie over at Musings from a workaholic wrote a lovely post about her sons and the various activities they got up to as kids.

It reminded me of an Irish poem that my parents had up on our fridge when I was young. I will post it in it’s original Irish form (and it is much nicer in Irish) but I’ll also post an English translation. I think those of you with kids will love it.

Subh Milis

Bhí subh milis
Ar bhaschrann an dorais
Ach mhúch mé an corraí
Ionam d’éirigh,
Mar smaoinigh mé ar an lá
A bheas an baschrann glan,
Agus an láimh bheag
Ar iarraidh.

Jam

There was jam
On the door handle
But I quenched the anger
That rose in me
Because I thought of the day
That the door handle would be clean
And the little hand
Would be gone

Seamus O’ Neill

Also, a big thank you to Lydia for the Sunshine Award. I know I’ve taken forever to get to it so apologies! To spread a little sunshine to your day, here’s a picture of me on my graduation day:

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Note: That is not actually me. I’m much less adorable.

Tell me your best bad joke

Hey there lovelies 😀

I had a lovely time visiting home, even if I did get lured into a banjo duet with a questionable looking kid (this didn’t actually happen, I’m implying that the area I’m from is similar to the place portrayed in the movie Deliverance and if you didn’t get that, well, maybe I’m just not that funny *cries*).

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I got to catch up with my lovely family, and even ate some Easter eggs (I’m writing this on a treadmill…okay, I’m writing this on my sofa while changing the channels with my foot, HAPPY NOW?!). Tomorrow, I’m going jogging. Or having a cardiac arrest. Only time will tell.

Anyway, I had such an amazing time with my family that I actually cried when I was leaving them. I curled up in my mother’s arms like a baby. A giant woman-baby. Well, that’s disturbing.

For the journey home, my mother amused me with terrible jokes. Here are some of her best:

What did the green grape say to the purple grape?
Breathe, idiot! BREATHE

Why do swallows fly south for the winter?
Because it’s too far to walk.

What did the Lion King say to Simba when he was walking too slow?
MUFASA!

These were so bad that I inevitably ended up laughing at my mother (especially because she thinks she’s HILARIOUS!) and I was cheered up in no time 🙂

So, what’s your best bad joke? If you share it with me I will smile and I have a wonderfully creepy smile, so everyone wins. Tell me your bad jokes and I’ll have eater’s remorse while having nightmares about giant Easter eggs chasing me (I’m not even lying, that has happened). As Snoop Dogg would say, PEACE!

Dear Future Me

Dear future me,

Have you seen the movie Tractor? No, me neither, I’ve only seen the trailer. Har har, get it? You always say open with a joke sooo…

Moving swiftly on. I decided to write this because I wrote a letter to fifteen year old me who obviously can’t read what I wrote because she’s in some 2002 time warp wearing combat pants and drinking vanilla Coke, but you can. You, future Jane, or present Jane by the time you read this (my braaaaain), you can read exactly what I wrote to you and heed my advice. Just because I’m younger than you doesn’t mean it’s going to be bad advice. I just want you to still have fun, even if you probably can’t drink tequila and put your foot behind your head anymore.
I reeeally hope you’re thinking:

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I hope that everything is going well for you. If you are healthy, have a home, still have Jack, have a son or daughter and a steady job then I want you to know that you are very very lucky. Because you’re me, you probably complain, even when things are going well. But listen- you need to quit it and appreciate what you have. Don’t make me jump into my flux capacitor and come get you.

Right now, I’m happy…but there is so much more that I want. And I am hoping that you have some of those things. Of course, you’re not going to have them all. I doubt you’re best friends with Jennifer Lawrence, living in Aruba and hosting Letterman. But if you are happy, healthy and secure… Well, that’s all we’ve ever hoped for, right?

I want you to know that this Jane loves to laugh. She loves Jack very much. She loves the countryside and the sound of laughter. Her family are everything to her. She helps young minds open up to the world around them. If, for any reason, something has made you forget all of this, then I want to remind you: your life has meaning. You were happy. You can be happy again.

If your life is going dandy and you know it, then swell. It would be really great if you could master time-travel and come back to give me some dough. Come on Jane, I’m waiting. No? fine, I’m so putting you in a home.

Let me just end by reminding you that you once touched Nick Carter as he was thrusting in leather and covered in sweat, just incase you forgot. Who am I kidding, of course you didn’t forget. I just wanted to revisit that memory. *goes to dark part of mind*

Also, I’m dying my hair already because I’ve spotted a grey hair or two. If you could keep that up so I don’t resemble a Shakespearean hag, that’d be great.

I’m going to go do handstands while I still can, don’t be too jealous. You’re still a total catch.

Yours (literally),

Past Jane (creepy smile) x

My First Poem

I have never written a poem on my own before and I don’t know how this happened. I wrote this, on my phone (which is very unpoetic of me) and in less than ten minutes. It just poured out (probably because it’s not very good, but I suppose you should never ignore what your mind sends you). It is dark and personal but I felt like posting it. I teach poetry comprehension on a daily basis, but I have always struggled with writing it. So here you go guys, my first poem:

Mother

I couldn’t have known when in your arms
That you were longing for something else, somewhere else
Away from my cries and outstretched arms

I couldn’t have known why the tears in my blue eyes
Mirrored the tears in your blue eyes
I couldn’t have known how my screams echoed around an empty room
Bare
The pictures of faraway places ripped from the walls
You would never go there

When I laughed it broke your heart
I didn’t understand, you thought
I didn’t yet know pain, yet I saw it everyday
In your white knuckles and your strained smile
Assuring visitors of my placidity

Now, a woman, I see you smile
Sometimes you laugh
But she knows the pain you harbour
She remembers the tears
She remembers studying your face, searching for comfort and hope

The baby
The girl
The child

Don’t worry guys, I’ll be back to my weirdly humourous self soon.

My Mother Just Owned Me

My mother called me. She’s just out of the cinema with friends.

Mam: What are you up to?
Me: I’m watching a documentary about orphaned mountain gorillas while playing solitaire.
Mam: This is the first time I’ve ever felt cooler than my own daughter.

Gotta give that one to you Mam. Well played.

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How to be Irish

On Saint Patrick’s Day, everyone likes to be a little Irish. If you would like to pass as genuinely Irish, follow these tips:

1. We like to talk about the weather. A lot. If you utter any of the following phrases, you will pass as Irish every time:

Grand day, isn’t it?

Grand soft day out now.

Jaysus, it’s roasting (anytime the temperature rises above 15 degrees Celsius).

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2. We can’t take compliments

“Oh this? €5 in Penneys, girl. Makes me look like a heifer.”

3. We can’t give compliments

“Happy birthday, ya dope!”

4. We can make fun of ourselves…

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5. …but if someone else does:

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6. We blame everything on the English

“It’s raining out. The English probably sent it.”

7. We can’t be affectionate

We leave that to our cheek-kissing, randy neighbours on the continent. As my Grandfather would have said: “hugging every time they say hello, pah! Cop on to yerselves!”

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7. We are unimpressed with anything fancy

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8. If you’re not drinking, there has to be a valid excuse

“Oh, you’re not drinking? Are you on antibiotics?”

9. We are superstitious

“I’ve a job interview tomorrow, so I’m going to go wave at some magpies for luck.”
Natch.

10. Every illness can be fixed with flat 7up

“Oh, your appendix is about to burst. Flat 7up. Be grand.”

“Oh, you’re bleeding internally? Flat 7up. Be grand.”

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11. We really do love potatoes, but we call them “spuds”

“A dinner without spuds? I mean, I just never thought about it before…I suppose I could try it but I’m skeptical.”

12. Our mothers are brilliant…but terrifying

“You failed your test?! Right, I’m getting the wooden spoon.”

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13. Leaving the immersion on fills us with dread

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Boyfriend Translator- What he really means

What he says:

I totally know where we are. It’s cool.

What he means:

We’re hopelessly lost but I’d rather eat glue than ask for directions.

What he says:

The end of Marley and Me? Yeah, pretty sad…but I’m a guy, I don’t cry.

What he means:

Part of my soul died the day I saw that movie. Now please don’t ever bring it up again.

What he says:

I’d love to help you sweetheart, but I don’t know how to use the vacuum cleaner.

What he means:

Of course I know how to use the vacuum cleaner. I just don’t want to clean.

What he says:

You can have anything you want. It’s on me.

What he means:

As long as you order from the kid’s section and you share with me.

What he says:

Are you kidding? My Mother’s gonna love you.

What he means:

As long as you wear a purity ring, dress like a nun and answer every question with ‘yes, master.’

What he says:

I prefer when you don’t wear make-up.

What he means:

I don’t wanna wait for three hours while you’re getting ready.

What he says:

Sure, I’ll kill that spider for you. It’s only little.

What he means:

ohmygod, ohmygod, I’ve to go within a foot of a freakin’ spider! Where’s my can of deodorant and my lighter?

What he says:

I totally was not checking out that other girl’s boobs. I’ve only got eyes for you.

What he means:

That girl’s boobs were HUGE!

What he says:

What will I do when you go out with your girlfriends? Oh, probably just drink some beer and watch the game.

What he means:

I’m going to watch all the re-runs of ‘Sex and the City’ that I secretly TiVo’d.

What he says:

I don’t get scared at horror movies. That wasn’t bad.

What he means:

I’ll be hugging myself under my duvet all night in fear.

What he says:

I can totally bench like 200 lbs.

What he means:

If you divide it by ten.

What he says:

I never had a teddy bear. How lame.

What he means:

As long as she doesn’t talk to my Mom, she’ll never find out about Mr. Hugsalot.

What he says:

I’m not jealous.

What he means:

If he ever talks to you again, I will rip his head off and use it as a bowling ball.

What he says:

The last song I listened to? Um, probably something by Metallica.

What he means:

‘You Raise Me Up’ by Josh Groban.

What he says:

Of course I like your cat.

What he means:

It scares the crap out of me.

What he says:

Bradley Cooper is so lame.

What he means:

I wish I was Bradley Cooper.

What he says:

Of course I like your Mother.

What he means:

If I marry you, and you turn out like her, I will throw you off a bridge.

What he says: 

Who’s going? Um, just a couple of the guys.

What he means:

And their single female friends but I’m too afraid to tell you.

What he says:

I had like, seventeen beers, and was totally fine.

What he means:

I had four beers and woke up with my tongue stuck to a pole.

What he says:

I can play lead guitar.

What he means:

I can play Kumbaya on the recorder.