Some Thoughts and Some Plagiarism

(I'm warning you...this is a mess.) 

A few of your posts have got me thinking. 

As I reread Kelly's "3rd post ever," it reminded me of one of my favorite poems by Denver Butson.  I hope you enjoy it:

Tuesday 9:00 AM

by Denver Butson

A man standing at the bus stop
reading the newspaper is on fire
Flames are peeking out
from beneath his collar and cuffs
His shoes have begun to melt

The woman next to him
wants to mention it to him
that he is burning
but she is drowning
Water is everywhere
in her mouth and ears
in her eyes
A stream of water runs
steadily from her blouse

Another woman stands at the bus stop
freezing to death
She tries to stand near the man
who is on fire
to try to melt the icicles
that have formed on her eyelashes
and on her nostrils
to stop her teeth long enough
from chattering to say something
to the woman who is drowning
but the woman who is freezing to death
has trouble moving
with blocks of ice on her feet

It takes the three some time
to board the bus
what with the flames
and water and ice
But when they finally climb the stairs
and take their seats
the driver doesn't even notice
that none of them has paid
because he is tortured
by visions and is wondering
if the man who got off at the last stop
was really being mauled to death
by wild dogs.


I know.

And then tonight, I read a beautiful (and awe-inspiring) post by Marie, who I do not know, but wish I did.  As I read her words about the mothers who came before her, I remembered something I read years ago in Martha Stewart Living and ripped out.  It hangs in my sewing room to help me remember just what it is I'm doing every day.  I will share it with you.  3-8-stephendrucker.jpgIt was written by Stephen Drucker, Editor-in-Chief.  (The emphasis is mine.)

"The twentieth century, so eager to get on with the future, hasn't been especially kind to traditions.  In fact, much of this century has been dedicated to sweeping them away, which as it turns out, isn't especially difficult to do.  All it takes is one broken link--from mother to daughter, from country to city--and a little bit of hard-earned wisdom valued for hundreds of years is gone forever."


Last week I was practicing spelling words with my oldest daughter.  (Honestly, we practice so many spelling words around here, I've started to measure time by the "list of the week.") I always say the word and then make up a sentence to go with she'll understand the context, and also because I really love making up sentences.  Anyway, we came to the word "author."  I said, "Author.  Author.  Your mom wishes she was an author."  Olivia started to laugh.  She noticed the surprised look on my face and said, in complete incredulity, "Do you mom?"  And then she shook it off and began to laugh again.

My life is secret even to her.  I have a secret history my own daughter does not know.  And I realized that my own mother's history is a mystery to me.  I've never thought to ask about her dreams.  I wonder if that is because I never thought (as Olivia does) that she had any dreams other than to bring me into the world and meet my every need.  Or if the asking would be too see what she gave up for me. 


But there is this:  Because of my mother's sacrifices, because she believes in traditions, I know part of her history in my own hands, in my daily life.  And not just my mother's was her mother's before that, and her mother's before that.  There is something beautiful and quietly reassuring in that shared history.  Like we know the most sacred secrets...the ones only our mothers and our daughters will ever know.