Maxine Kumin: poet, mother, gardener, writer, wife, friend.
Maxine Kumin: born just a few years before my own mother.
Maxine Kumin; Poet Laureate of United States, 1981-1982.
Maxine Kumin has become my newest favorite PLOTUS (poet laureate of the United States). Reading her poems is like having a conversation with her. Whether sharing history or gardening stories, you are there with her.
Maxine Kumin reminds me of my mother, Elsa. I know they could be friends, they could write letters using fountain pens and linen paper. Mama could withdraw into her world of thoughts and words, and her organized phrases and sentences could be second only to Maxine's. They would converse with only their written words, but they each would speak to the other.
by Maxine Kumin
"Instead of marrying the day after graduation..."
Mama married my father before graduation.
"...I should have taken that fellowship
to the University of Grenoble..."
Mama said she would have traveled, too.
"...I, who had never been west of the Mississippi
should have crossed the ocean
in third class on the Cunard White Star..."
Mama said she has visions of Paris, of Madrid, of Barcelona.
"... How could I go?
Passion had locked us together.
Sixty years my lover,
he says he would have waited.
He says he would have sat
where the steamship docked..."
"Would Papa have waited for you, Mama?"
"Oh, I don't know," Mama replied. "He was always impatient, always going places. I don't think so."
"But he loved you, Mama," I whispered. "He loved you."
"Yes" Mama whispered back, her eyes brimming with tears. "He loved me, didn't he."
"... Hand over hand,
flesh against flesh for the final haul...
...lover and long legged girl."
He loved her. How could she go?
|Looking Back in My Eighty-First Year|
|by Maxine Kumin|