After working with my daughter on her poetry homework, I decided that the next blog post would be about my mother’s passion and love for poetry. I didn’t fully understand poetry, however my mothers poems and verses speak to me. Perhaps I hear her voice when I read her eloquent words. Poetry was my in my mother’s blood, her grandfather, a.k.a Grampy Locke, was known for his verses and reciting them to the family around the kitchen stove. Fun fact, mom was also a descendant of the famous, John Locke. She took university elective courses on poetry, and even published her first poem in the early 90’s, titled:
I’ve walked with you along the misty shore,
When darkness veiled your shining face with grey,
And listened to your tales from days of yore
Until the golden breaking of the day.
On rocky ledge I’ve sat and watched for you;
I’ve shivered at the seagull’s lonely cry,
And even as I waited there I knew
You’d only come- then turn, and say “Good-bye”.
But then, sometimes, you reach your icy hand
To give me polished glass, a satin shell;
You toss them carelessly upon the sand,
I hold them tenderly- you give gifts well.
And e’en should I desire, I cannot spurn
Thee, restless sea, to whom I now return.
My mother grew up on Grand Manan Island, New Brunswick, it is without a doubt the most beautiful place on earth. I have yet to discover a part of this world that is as untouched in such a magnificent way. Artist of all kinds flock to the island to be inspired…painters, writers, photographers, bird watchers, etc. I believe the simplicity and beauty of the island brought many thoughts and ideas to her paper and pen:
Relentless pursuer of seagulls,
the chill wind
wraps itself around me.
Shining seaweed blankets the
craggy outline of half-submerged rocks,
like a thousand stinging nettles
salt spray caresses me.
I walk in the morning mist.
Warning!! Brag Alert!! My mother’s profession was nursing and she was a damn good one too! She graduated from Nursing School as class valedictorian. She went on to obtain a post-graduate diploma in obstetrical nursing, followed by a Nursing bachelor degree from University. She was an instrumental part in establishing the Hospice Program in her home town and latter part of her career she was the director of nursing at the local hospital. She excelled in her chosen profession and retired having gained the utmost respect from both staff and patients alike.
Thoughts of a Student Nurse- a Message Poem: June 1960.
DOES SHE CARE?
That night the moon was shining-
Dull on the red brick wall,
While inside a light shone dimly
At each end of the hall.
A student nurse sat quietly,
Hesitant to speak.
For down the darkened corridor
Each patient lay asleep.
Suddenly she heard a cry-
She ran swiftly to the room,
But in this ward no light could pierce
The darkness and the gloom.
A woman lay there close to death
In agony and pain,
She tried to speak, but couldn’t,
She gasped and tried again.
There was nothing that this girl could do
As she clenched her hands in dread,
So she simply bowed her head and prayed,
These are the words she said;
“Father, if it is your will
For this child of yours to die,
Please take her quickly from this earth
And to her home on high.
God, as she dies, may she see thee
And thus forget her pain,
May she know, from this time on,
She’s not to lose and all to gain.”
She took the trembling hand in hers,
She smoothed the fevered brow,
“How long? How long? the woman cried;
And then she knew, “It’s now!”
Tears glistened on the fresh young cheeks,
A burden left a heart;
As she stood in silence by the bed
The two weren’t far apart.
The young nurse quickly dried her eyes
And calmed her aching breast;
She’d stood her ground, she’d faced the facts,
She’d finally borne the test.
And that morning over coffee
As she sat there all alone,
A friend came up and questions her,
Had Mrs Jones been summoned home?
“Yes, last night,” she answer softly,
“it’s better that she went.
The days were full of pain for her
And her youth had long been spent.
“ Do they care-these student nurses,
As they bustle to and fro,
With their freshly laundered aprons
And their caps perched on just so?
I guess they care!
The try their best
To brighten up the gloom,
To shed a light in darkness
Which often permeates a room.
Their hearts are with their partients,
They’d show them if they dared-
They’d tell them that they loved them,
And how very much they cared.
During her nursing years she was very interested in palliative care. To me she was an expert on death and dying. She spoke often at schools , church sermons, lectures, etc. What I gained from her knowledge is remarkable, she taught us from an early age that death is part of life and we should never fear it but truly embrace it. She had her funeral arrangements planned for 20 years before her passing, she was quite a lady! I took care of my mom when she fell ill to pancreatic cancer, I was by her bedside for 3 months, in the end it was ugly, really ugly! A dear friend told me, consider this to be a privilege to be with her during this time….at first I didn’t get it, but now I understand the true importance of it. Don’t get me wrong, my heart aches daily for her passing, but I’m a stronger woman for it.
Oh, to weep again-
freed from this prison to feel
the pleasure of pain.
M Dianne Barker
April 10, 1940- March 22, 2013