Thursday, November 3, 2011

Looking Back

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


Thérèse said...

That is what LOVE is about!
Nothing to add except you make me want to read Maxine Kumin...

P.S. If we meet then I'll translate for you... :-)

Rohrerbot said...

Oh my goodness....I have goosebumps. What a perfect post to remember the past.....Day of the Dead, All Soul Procession....aging. I don't know...but I do feel more deeply now than I have in years.

Pat Tillett said...

Now that is a great love story! So good that you posted the photos also... Nice post Brenda!

Sandra said...

very nice. my mother would be 85 now if she had lived, so she would have fit with these two ladies perfectly. she and daddy got married in 1943 on her 18th birthday.

Diane AZ said...

Great post! Looking back and understanding some of the reasons events unfolded as they did can bring a sense of compassion and least that's how I feel when I read this.

bbes tribe said...

Liked the post and the pictures that went with it. What a life story..
Ernie,Sasha,Chica,Lucas's mom Barb

Cyndi and Stumpy said...

Ah, Brenda! Now I have to go to the library and get yet another book! I am trying SOOOOOOO hard to get my nose out of books, a little more.

and then I ask myself,"Why?"


Banjo52 said...

Nice post and pics! More and more, I'm thinking that coming away from poetry or a poet with a personal connection like this is the main reason for reading.