To Mother on the Anniversary of Your Death

Sep 7, 2018

Today’s poem is “To Mother on the Anniversary of Your Death” by Linda Aldrich. She has published two collections of poetry, Foothold (Finishing Line Press, 2008) and March and Mad Women (Cherry Grove Collections, 2012). Linda lives in Portland and teaches English at Southern Maine Community College. She co-hosts the monthly Local Writers at the Local Buzz reading series with Marcia Brown.

Linda wrote the poem during a residency at the Hewnoaks Artist Colony in Lovell, where she stayed alone in a cabin by a lake. She writes, “The solitude and lack of distraction allowed me to experience a new level of loss for my mother who had died 8 years before and with whom I had a difficult relationship. I used the villanelle form as a writing prompt for myself, thinking it would be relatively easy and straightforward; however, I discovered its simplicity and repetition is actually quite difficult, forcing the poem to accomplish itself efficiently and accurately in a limited number of lines.”

To Mother on the Anniversary of Your Death
by Linda Aldrich

The moon eclipsed the sun this week. I thought you’d like to hear.
Though only partial where I am, the lake was cast in golden light.
Just let me chatter on a bit. At least I’m drawing near.

I’m staying at a lakeside place to do some writing, but I fear
I’m not producing poems that will stand the test of overnight.
The moon eclipsed the sun this week. I thought you’d like to hear.

I know it’s been so long. It’s taken me eight years 
to send a civil word your way. I needed time to set things right
inside myself, so let me chatter on a bit. At least I’m drawing near.

I’m talking through this villanelle to you. I hope you hear
between the lines, for you’re the one who inspired me to write.
The moon eclipsed the sun this week. I thought you’d like to hear

the earth is still a lovely place in summer. I wish that you were here,
so we could stroll down to the dock and watch the coming night.
The moon eclipsed the sun this week. I thought you’d like to hear.
Just let me chatter on a bit. At last I’m drawing near.

Poem copyright © 2018 Linda Aldrich.