Offered with great tenderness and love today, to all my dear Jewish (and Jew-Witch!) friends who have been observing the High Holy Days and particularly Yom Kippur. And for all, of every faith, who have traveled the pathways of mourning and healing.
Mother of my birth, for how long were we together
in your love and my adoration of your self?
For the shadow of a moment as I breathed your pain
and you breathed my suffering, as we knew
of shadows in lit rooms that would swallow the light.
Your face beneath the oxygen tent was alive
but your eyes were closed. Your breathing was hoarse
but your sleep was with death. I was alone with you
as it was when I was young but only alone now
and now with you. I was to be alone forever
as I was learning, watching you become alone.
Earth is your mother as you were mine, my earth,
my sustenance, my comfort and my strength
and now without you I turn to your mother
and seek from her that I may meet you again
in rock and stone: whisper to the stone,
I love you; whisper to the rock, I found you;
whisper to earth, Mother, I have found my mother
and I am safe and always have been.
~ David Ignatow
New and Collected Poems 1970-1985