'Of Mothers and Memories' by jan-u-wine, with painting by Mary Cassatt.
~ detail from Cassatt's "Mother and Child"
I chose jan-u-wine's short poem Of Mothers and Memories to be the last of the four parent poems because it "feels" last, like a summation of Frodo's feelings about his mother that survived the War, survived his decline after his return to the Shire, perhaps until the end of his sojourn in Tol Eressëa. Reading his thoughts, the particular things he remembers makes me think of my own mother. What will I remember most? Similar things, no doubt - the sound of her voice, her touch, the body-words of love. My mother is not dead, but she is old and becoming frailer. I know the time for remembering is not far off. Perhaps that is why I have warmed to these poems about Frodo remembering his parents, just now, especially his mother. "Applicability", Tolkien might have said.
The image I chose to complement this post is one by Mary Cassatt (1844-1926), an American artist who painted and showed her work with the Impressionists in France. She was a very determined person, or she might have been discouraged by the obstacles put in her way as a woman trying to make her way as a professional artist. Fortunately for us, she produced fine pieces for decades, many of which have been preserved. I love the feel of this pastel, intimate yet contemplative. Perhaps the child is fresh from a warm bath, still a bit damp and burrowing against the warmth of his mother in a cool room. Whatever the original circumstances, it captures for me a sense of Frodo's remembrance in this poem.
Mother and Child by Mary Cassatt, pastel drawing, c. 1900.
Of Mothers and Memories
The memory of her stays,
beneath all these others.
I search them, seeking the last of her.
Her voice, a faded echo,
curtained by time,
is all which remains.
A lullaby gentles upon my ear,
soft, like whisper’d firelight, and
leaves turn in bright-paged books.
Her arm gathers me suddenly, strongly,
teasing fingers reach behind my knees, tickle my feet.
A kiss lightens my brow.
Mumma, after all the paths I have walked, all the shadows I have known (and been known by),
after all I have forgotten,
I remember you.
Previous Frodo entry:
~ jan-u-wine's "....they are but beggars....", plus Monet's "Pond at Montgeron", 10-19-10.