Remembering my mother

 

Heart Thumpers

 

A faux brass case of old photographs

None of them good

And yet she kept them

A shopping list

Scrawled and barely legible

But in her hand

A birthday card signed “with love”

A button waiting to be sewn on

A compact that was once beautiful

Her glove

Her handkerchief

Her fragrance

“Heart Thumpers”

It says on the little case

Of photographs

Me squinting into the summer sun

How old could I have been?

Our children at play

Her unsmiling passport photo

All found in the drawer beside her bed

Throw them away, my father said

But I kept them all

The little things that made up her life

Keepsakes in a crystal bowl

That once held her make up

I open it reverently once a year

To smell the fragrance

Of that unforgotten past

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems


Remembering

 I wrote this next poem in 1995, about six months before my mother died.

 Role Reversal

Today, I held my mother

sobbing in my arms

Stroking her soft,  fine hair

Her chin nuzzled on my chest

And I could smell

the unforgotten fragrance

of her skin

I held her close

as I have held my children

and felt the frailty of her age

How odd and imperceptibly

the tables turn

And those that you have leaned on

lean on you

Those that you had turned to

turn to you

Now she is the child

And I am the mother

MUM AND DAD BEFORE THEY WERE ENGAGED. LATE 1920S? THEY WERE MARRIED IN 1936.SONY DSCmum

In memory of Freda Hetty Finn.  Born London, December 13 1910. Died 6 March 1996.

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems


In bed with Leonard Cohen


leonard-cohen-photo-2-for-blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

I want to be back

Sitting on someone’s floor

at a party I’ve gate-crashed

Listening to some gorgeous long haired guy

singing Suzanne takes you down

And I want to see again

those photos of Elvis

having his hair cut for the army

elvis-photo-for-blog

And I want to be again

sneaking into my first X film

Hiding cigarettes from my parents

Holding hands with someone I’ve only just met

Dancing obscenely close in some Soho cellar

I want to be kissed again

For the very first time

buddy-holly-photo-for-blog

I want to hear Buddy Holly on a juke box

Sip my first coke in a Wimpy bar

My first rum and coke in a real bar

I want to be hearing Dylan for the first time

The Beatles

Buffy Sainte Marie

The Everly Brothers

Leonard Cohen

dylan-albumbuffy-photo-for-blog

eversley-bros-pic-for-blog

beatles-photo-for-blog

I want to be hugged by my mum and dad

I want to be back

Take me back

But here I am

in bed with Leonard Cohen

And his Book of Longing

Longing to be back.

cohen-book-of-longing-for-blog

this-leonard-cohen-pic-for-blog

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems


Tribute to Leonard Cohen

The man who has touched all of our lives with his songs is dead. I have been a fan of Leonard Cohen for as long as I can remember. I read his novels, I bought his poetry. I remember buying a hardba…

Source: Tribute to Leonard Cohen


Looking back

Now I have grandchildren I sometimes wonder how much they will remember the times we have together. Nothing special. Just the everyday things. Reading a story. Playing hide and seek. Cuddles. Bath time. Bed time.

It would be wonderful if we could all remember the first few years of our lives. After all, these are the years – we are told – that form us, shape us into the people we become.

I was trying to encapsulate those feelings when I wrote the poem, “Childhood”. It was written many many years ago when I was a new mum. I have blogged it before but wanted to share it again.

Although it was a very long time ago, I can still remember how I felt. I expressed the same feelings in another poem of mine you might have read – the one that goes …

” I watch my child asleep in bed

what dreams can he be dreaming

the little sleepyhead

I want to build a wall around his cot

Shield him from the world

Instead I tuck his blankets tight

And kiss my sleeping child goodnight.”

I am sure this is how many parents must feel about their sleeping children.

The same feeling still comes over me when I hold one of our four fabulous grandsons.

The years are swept away and I remember this poem I wrote when I was a new mother.

Do let me know if it strikes a chord with you.

Childhood

Is this how it was?

Curtains drawn

Fire glowing

Warm inside

Outside snowing

Little child snug on mother’s knee

Cheeks flushed

rosy

warm, content

Is this how my childhood went?

 

Now I sit

with my own son

whose life has only just begun

He cuddles close

and hugs me tight

And everything in the world

seems right

 

I now yearn for the child I was

The years are swiftly going

I watch my child

and other children

Living, loving, growing.

 

If only we now grown up

could recall how it was then

when all the world was mother’s smile

and begin again.

 

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems


Memorial

March 6 

It has come round again.

It is Friday night

And I light the Sabbath candles

in the candlesticks

that once belonged to her

It has come round again.

I remember her voice

her smile, her kiss

When I hold our grandchildren

I wonder

was she like this with me

It has come round again.

None of us can remember

those first years

No film to help us

No one to ask

They have all gone

I know that I was loved

And that has to do.

It has come round again.

Our memorial candles

are all used up

And we hunt one down in Tesco

Now the Yahrzeit candle can be lit

Now she can be remembered

As if I ever forget

Me at 15 months with my mother

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems


Old Life, New Life

Old Life, New Life

My daughter was fifteen

When my mother died

She never knew her as a woman

Or saw her as a bride.

Eighteen years have passed

The years have all flown

My hair has turned grey

Our children have grown.

When I see a perfect flower

Or a bud upon the tree

I think about my mother

And the life she gave to me.

Me at 15 months with my mother

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems