The First Time

The first time
I saw my own eyes
staring out from
behind your sweet face,
a mirror of self-love
unencumbered by years
of doubt, sweat, tears.

That first time,
the only time
I saw you
before she took
you away
to a better life.

–Victoria Emmons, 2017

Dedicated to all the mothers 
who had to give up their children.

Letters

First placed in a dresser drawer
Migrated to a shoebox
Burgeoned to a steamer trunk
Hidden away in a space in the wall
Letters kept safe over 50 years
Uncovered in a renovation

Home owners open them one by one
The story of two lovers unfolding on paper
Over time, through wars, marriage
And children born and died, the letters
Filled with life and hidden passion
Secrets that only lovers share

Those who discover the musings
Seek to find the children, now grown,
With no inkling of correspondence
Between mother and father, letters
Revealing struggles, patience, deep love
And devotion one to the other

Email is not wrapped in purple ribbon
Nor kept in a dresser drawer, perhaps
An iCloud drawer to be savored later
Or uncovered like Ashley Madison clients,
Not quite the same as thin Air Mail paper
With the familiar red, white and blue logo

A Mother’s Tale

Blocks in my shoes
Towels about the room
Cows moo, pigs oink
A farmer sings a tune

A smile and then a laugh
A boo-boo on your chin
All part of growing up
A phase you’re living in

Awakening at dawn
Greet a brand new day
Bananas and some Cheerios
And then a round of play

Before your little body
Tuckers out for the morn
Despite all your objections
Sleep before you’re worn

The day renews itself again
More snow, a brand new face
Just in time to search and find
A few good cats to chase

Discover slides and rolling things
Or even steps to climb
The local spot for little kids
Gives all some fun play time

Or take a spin upon a horse
A very different kind
Encircles merry songs
And a golden ring to find

Sleepy baby, your eyes do nod
So much to see and learn
A million miles in your young life
For knowledge do you yearn

Inquiring mind you have, my love
The cabinets are your prey
To open doors for bowls inside
As instruments to play

A string quartet, perhaps,
A drum or two in time
Your rhythmic beat upon the floor
Reminds me that you’re mine

And now the day grows dark, sweet boy
The time for bath is nigh
As music lulls you fast asleep
Night hugs you by and by

–Victoria Emmons, © 2014

The Sting

of the palm
as it reaches
the cheek,
the innocent
cheek, all
glowing and pink.

The pain
of the sting
as it crosses
the lips,
the sensuous
lips, so
worthy and free.

The wrath
of the world
as it crushes
the head,
the pulsating
head, once
brilliant, now dead.

The sound
of the crowd
as it mimics
the man,
the jabbering
man, once
noble and proud.

The hush
of the wind
as it drifts through
the hair,
the beautiful
hair, all
silky and clean.

The joy
of the girl
as she opens
the lock,
the garden
unlocked, now
sodden and flush.

The birth
of the bud
as it carries
the sting,
the heart-wrenching
sting, all
hidden and fine.

The cry
of the babe
as he wants her
to stay,
the boy not
at play, so
tearful and pained.

The sting
of the palm
as it reaches
the cheek,
the hardening
cheek, all
knowing and deep.

The pain
of the sting
as it crosses
the heart,
the withering
heart, no
longer a part.

— Victoria Emmons ©2013

Enough

How much is enough
To show her you care
How many times
must you weep

How much is enough
For a father to say
He loves his child
More than life itself

How much is enough
For a daughter to hear
That her papa is grieving
Her loss from his world

How much is enough
To tell her you love her
And kiss her brow
As tears wet her cheek

How much is enough
To say you regret
The pain and the prison
That one moment caused

How much is enough
For peace to restore
And pride to erase
The memory of a face

–Victoria Emmons, © 2014

Honey

On the senior pages in my high school yearbook, the quote they chose to put under my picture is: “You can catch more flies with honey than you can with a fly swatter.” It was advice that my mother had always given us and I found that she was right. When kindness is shown, even to those who may not readily seem to deserve it, the reward is always with the giver. So I tried to be nice to everyone and I guess people noticed.

Continue reading

Rescue

Birdie

Birdie

The Saturday morning market attracted the usual crowd eager for organic vegetables and people watching. My shopping bag was heavy with zucchini, golden beets, white corn, a potato or two, and a paper bag of Cremini mushrooms. The farmer’s market is the best place to buy fig vinegar and some of Sister Sarah’s homemade canned tomatoes. I couldn’t take home much else. Or so I thought. Continue reading

Late Night Write

Why is writing a late-night affair?
Riding the waves of darkness and sorrow
I must right all the ills of the world
In a single paragraph, a simple poem,
A combination of letters to make sense of life
Or no cents at all since writing never fills my pocket,
Only my brain with wonder and my soul with thought.

I cannot live without it, this craft I have adopted
So late in life, hidden inside of me a century or more
Fearful of escaping so as not to be discovered as weak
Yet more than a week to find myself in so many words
And letters of encouragement from those who read,
Those who also cry out in the night for acceptance
And love, since that is what matters most to us all.

Write, write, write, my dearest companions, my colleagues,
Compose yourselves in beautiful harmony or ubiquitous agony
Over whatever life brings to you, and whatever you record
For all time, for rhyme is certain to please your senses
And tickle the rhythms of your life in ways you never knew
Or never considered could be, while you search for
What is good and merciful and beautiful out there.

Accept your gifts, share with the world what is in your head
Before you are dead and your talents die with you.
We, you and me, are careful to say what we say in a way
That does not harm, but makes us think, contemplate
All the horrors and the beauty of the world as it turns
On its axis bringing access to air and water and life itself
Training God’s creatures to react to its constant turning.

Turning and churning our words on the page must follow
A pattern to reveal the sensitive caverns of our inner corps
As we create a mood, develop a scene, and tell our stories
Of strength and loss, of uncertainty and challenge, of tragedy.
We speak of love, of sorrow, of bridges to cross and roads to build
The core of our very being is ripped open in a post to the world
That may never be seen or may become a scene in our obituary.

Words connect my fingers to thought patterns that pound
Into something strong and wonderful that lasts for posterity
So my children and my grandchildren and those that come after
Will know that there was once a race of thinkers and writers
And spellers and rhymers who did not need a robotic prompt
Or a creative idea log or even a spell check program to assure
The words made sense, to assure that humans would still exist.

–Victoria Emmons, 2014

Celebrate Mothers

Today we celebrate mothers. We celebrate all those fine women who have loved, given their all, planned, saved, and sacrificed so that children can have a happy life, no matter how long that life is. Some of us today will hug our children tightly. Some will text them or talk on FaceTime. Some will remember their children … remember the gift they were to us.

So for all the mothers, grandmothers, stepmothers and other people who served as mothers, as so many are often called upon to do, we celebrate you. It is through your kindness, love, caring and concern that children get a good start in life. And with a good start, with love and guidance, children become good mothers and fathers, too.

Happy Mother’s Day!