5.1.20

Remembrance


Remembrance

For my mother

Tasmania was mine, mmm, I loved it.  The many colours, many landscapes, the movement of the seasons.  The deep blue mountains, the bright meandering streams.  Silver and golden streams, water and sunlight.  Sunlight streaming on my wide back lawn, which spread like a meadow.  Shimmering grass and shimmering sky.  Fresh springtime mornings, their frosts diminishing, becoming dew.  Summer full of bees, their peaceful hum.  Me on my own, mooning through summer days, meandering round my meadow, humming too.


Winter mists hiding the valleys, climbing the hills, almost veiling the mountains, draping my  familiar town in mystery, magic.  Then melting gradually, by midday gone, the gleaming town new-minted.


Murky rain, black mud; myself muffled in overcoat, cap and mittens.  Gumboots to mid-calf.  Squelch, squelch, I am the master of all this mud!  Hurrying home to the warm, the welcoming  mother.  Tomato soup beside the fire.  My clothes hugging me warm: soft socks and cosy jumper.  Hugging myself with my happy arms.


The taste of tomato soup and mushy brown bread.  The taste of comfort, home.  The flavour of a warm room, safe from the frosts and marauding storms. Summer tastes were fruit – gooseberries, raspberries, nectarines, damson plums...  The purplest of plums, dark purple, thick with juice.  Messy all over my cheeks, staining my hair, covering my  hands to the wrists.  My rich purple lips, my inky tongue.  Mum amazed, aghast at so much mess.  Oh miraculous messy damson plums!  Welcome back to my memory, dreamtime summer fruit.


My summer stretched to encompass all the autumn.  Mellow harvest moons, huge and golden, mimicked the sun.  The sky smiled, the cosmos smiled on me.


'Come home!' the island calls me now.  'You are my child.  Come home, come back, you are mine.' 



First draft written 1987; final version 1990.
Published in
Secret Leopard (Paris, Alyscamps Press 2005) 



An old poem for the new Writers' Pantry #1 at Poets and Storytellers United. It seems particularly fitting, as we now include prose or poetry – and this is a prose-poem.

Although the Pantry isn't prompted, i.e. we can write on any topic, this time its host, Magaly, touched on what constitutes home and I was reminded of this piece about my childhood home. Like the rest of Australia, it's burning, so I recall all the more poignantly what it was to me.

26 comments:

  1. I'm smiling so hugely that my Piano Man asked what was making me so happy. I told him, "I want to be the Mud Master!" His funny look went away after I read him your post.

    The is a happy poem, alive with the best memories, rich in imagery, tasty all around. It left me craving tomato soup, berries... and missing my grandmother's words and embrace. But it's a sweet sort of nostalgia. Just like the feelings you've invited us to share through your poem.

    I guess memory, too, is home.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awww, thank you. What a lovely, insightful comment!

      Delete
  2. Don't think I've tasted a damson plum but the black plums here also stain everything purplish-black - took me back to a tree in my great grand mom's house!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love this! Rosemary and remembrance! I’m reading it at the right time, as this coming Thursday is the anniversary of my mother’s death three years ago. I love the way you describe Tasmania, a place I can only dream of, it sounds magical. I pray that Australia survives this tragedy. I have an old friend who lives just outside Sidney. It was her birthday on 1st January, and I sent her a birthday email, asking her to let me know she’s safe and well. I haven’t heard from her yet.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Very sensually rendered. Nothing is as magnetic as home, forever calling out to us, attracting every cell of our being, no matter how far away - in either space or time - we may be, eh?

    And I've discovered that home isn't necessarily where we were born. Sometimes, like me, one does not discover home until somewhat later in life. But once it's discovered, it calls out to us forever.

    Sadly, some never find home. I'm glad I found mine.

    Great writing!

    ReplyDelete
  5. One of the problems of getting older is that the places you once loved change over time and if revisiting them after a few years break they are no longer the place you loved as they change without you accepting each minor alteration that you would hardly notice if you still lived there. I've made the mistake many times and felt as though I was in mourning.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Such evocative memories - what a warming way to start the year

    ReplyDelete
  7. Elegy can't get any closer than this. It's gorgeously faithful to childhood and mothers like a mother and motherland. Reading it now one feel the grief almost too sharply but no, it's exactly where we need to be, what we need to see and feel.

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a word feast, Rosemary! There's so much here to feed on that I hardly know where to begin. Let's just say that it's delectable--such rich imagery--and nourishing. Maybe it's those "messy damson plums"! :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. .... This is by far the most poignant poem I have ever read, Rosemary!❤️ The tone, the imagery led me to imagine the joy of "staining my hair, covering my hands to the wrists," with those purplest of plums!

    I too am reminded of my grandmother who would run around after me and my sister in the house along with cousins of the same age .. we grew up devouring homemade jam and toast back in the 90s. Thank you so much for bringing back these memories with your heartfelt words!😘😘

    ReplyDelete
  10. Tasmania seems to me to be a place of fable and fantasy. I can imagine how it must call to you still.

    ReplyDelete
  11. A word feast indeed Rosemary, totally delicious.
    What wonderful memories you have of Tasmania and your childhood there, truly wonderful. Love your words, lots!
    Anna :o)

    ReplyDelete
  12. What a beautiful way to start the day.

    ReplyDelete
  13. You have beautifully captured the sheer visceral joy of being a child and in awe of the landscape and seasons. This is really a wonderful piece full of sweet childhood memories of home!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thank you for sharing this memory as it prompts others in me. Tomato soup (I'm sure is different in the US) but mud is mud with children young and old playing and "Squelching" is about the right sound, I suppose. I'll retire tonight with sounds of bees humming in my ears.
    Thank you, Rosemary, for allowing us to walk with you.

    ReplyDelete
  15. It's funny how even half a world away I can have the same experience, playing outside in the snow and coming in to find a warm mug of tomato soup. I still love a cup of soup when I'm feeling cold. It feels so much like love and home.

    ReplyDelete
  16. What wonderful memories. I have similar ones from growing up in the countryside of Missouri.

    ReplyDelete
  17. This is so lovely and warming, Rosemary. Full with all the openness to experience, keen senses, confidence - I love "I am the master of all this mud" - and comfort afforded a child by simply having a loving mother. And then there is the other mother, the island itself. You've conveyed a beautiful and complete sense of mutual belonging.

    ReplyDelete
  18. This is utterly beautiful Rosemary. What treasured memories you have! Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I love your description of your home, your mother, the soup and the memories. I felt like being in a cozy, warm and loving place.
    I am so sorry that your childhood home is burning. My prayers and thoughts are for Australia.

    ReplyDelete
  20. The description really comes alive! My hometown peninsula is my Tasmania. Lobster dipped in butter, fried clams, Boston baked beans and a foghorn sounding in the background.

    ReplyDelete
  21. So beautiful, Rosemary. You captured every sense here on memory lane. Mums are the best!

    ReplyDelete
  22. what lovely vignettes you have painted. truly, this is home.
    the taste of tomato soup is indeed motherly love.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I lo ed your prose'poem more and more as I read along.
    My favorite lines, "The taste of tomato soup and mushy brown bread.  The taste of comfort, home. " They and those to follow were so very tasteful for me. In my second bachelor days I made a really mean tomato soup. Quite often I would add a slied hot dog for protein in my diet. We liked Tasmania too on our 2014 cruise stop.
    ..

    ReplyDelete
  24. Reminiscence is sustenance for the soul. Gorgeous.

    ReplyDelete

Comments are moderated and will be visible after approval. If you can only comment anonymously, please include your name in the comment, just so I know who's talking to me.