The Truth about my Mother on her 75th Birthday

My mother recently celebrated her 75th Birthday and, as one of the gifts I gave her, I decided to write a poem for her. The theme of this year’s National Poetry Day was TRUTH, so I used that single word as a starting point for what became my poem that I read to her at her celebrations. Although it’s personal, she said she would be happy for me to share the poem on my blog. So, here it is:

The Truth about my Mother on her 75th Birthday

It is true that my mother would bring me a hot water bottle and press it, her hands warm, against my aching stomach.

It is true that on a cold, star-dusted night, she ran across the bottom of the garden, pretending to be a witch and making us squeal in excited horror.

And it is true that she flicked off the TV and stood in front of it. ‘Walk!’ she cried as we protested, but an hour later as we were buffeted in the wind and long grass, we’d forgotten what we were even watching.

It is the truth that my mother has always leaned into adventure, a moth straining towards the light of possibility, of new lands, of exotic foods and of different people.

It is true that she inherited her own mother’s love for tea, not simply as a drink, but an event, with a tray laden with milk in a jug, cups and saucers and tasty sweet morsels.

It’s true that a room becomes a welcoming embrace for guests: crisp clean sheets, a small jug offering flowers and light and air spilling across the floor.

It is true that the magic of Christmas time breathes warmth and spice into my mother as she transforms the house into a cozy candlelit palace of yuletide joy.

The truth is that she will stand at the Stanley, glass of wine and snacks at hand and cheeks flushed as she hip-wiggle dances in between adding to the cooking pot.

And it can’t be denied that she smeared butter on the paw of an adored elderly gentleman cat and lies on the floor with an equally adored excitable dog, rubbing his belly.

And the truth about my mother is this, that she is a constellation of many far flung stars:

of the people she loves and who love her;

of the words she has spoken and imbibed;

of the lands that have welcomed the tread of her feet 

and the skies that have framed her and the seas that have held her;

And all the stars join around the 75 span of her years, but they stretch beyond that, for she was a gleam in the cosmos’s eye at the beginning of time, and will remain a glimmer in the spirit of all the generations who follow her.

My mother aged 35 and me aged 2
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