Ma: A Plain Song


by Margaret McGovern
She danced the years like a girl
Tripping the grass,
As if the world and time would never pass.
Orpheus was a mere piper to her fling.
She could make many hells blossom and sing.
Each grandchild stared amazed, as one by one
She tossed them up to greet the morning sun.
They kicked with bliss at her delightful words
Screeching, “Look, lovey! See the trees! See birds!”
Her great grandchildren knew the heavenly game
Immediately — thinking it why they came.
At satellites she jeered, “They’ll miss the bus.
What have these bloody balloons to do with us?”
This was her only prayer for souls beset:
Dearies, we never died a winter yet.
Loving the act of life to her last breath,
She simply had no memory for death.
She half smiled when we begged, to ease her plight,
“Perhaps if you turned your face away from the light
You would sleep, dearest . . . or at least rest your eyes,”
But the wide child-blue gaze disdained our lies.

Clearly it said: I have taught you all I know.
Remember me with joy.

And it was so.