Wednesday, October 1, 2008

BE YOURS TO HOLD IT HIGH

(Me reading my poetry at the "Hot-Mouthed Texas Women" performance on the grounds of the state capital, Texas Book Fair, 1998)

In follow-up to my last post, about the role books played in my childhood and how reading was handed to me by my mother, here's a poem I wrote about it on the 20th anniversary of her death.


BE YOURS TO HOLD IT HIGH

When I was born, within a week
my eyes began to swell and ooze
They called it eczema and told
my mother to tie down my hands
to keep them from the dreadful itch
She bought the gauze to bind my wrists
but also brought home books of poems
And when I fretted she would read
The Highwayman or Flanders Fields
Jellico Cats and Sam McGee
Because I could not stop for death
Margaret, are you grieving
John Anderson my jo, John
We were very young, we were very merry

Until the wire of cadence shocked
my jellid brain and hissed it live

Aside from every cell I am, this flesh
that shows her womb-stamped sport
as well as face so much like hers --
Aside from that, the finest thing
she ever did was give me verse


© Maggie Jochild, written 24 April 2004, 12:15 p.m.

2 comments:

Ojibway Migisi Bineshii said...

Great poem!!!

kat said...

Thank you for sharing, maggie.

between this and the camp story, I'm crying all over my keyboard! what a way to start the morning. (especially since I've got a cold and am all congested!)