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  • Writer's pictureMike Gould

For my mother, a poem

My mother, Jean Gould

My mother is moving into a new care home today - the fourth home in just over a year, and I sincerely hope she'll be happier in the new one. Whilst she is often confused and afraid, her love of languages (she was a French teacher) and literature surfaces regularly, recently quoting to me De Lamartine, but also asking if I would read her one of my own, which I did - to her great delight (though I do not claim to be De Lamartine's heir!). You may recall in an earlier post my pleasure at seeing a hare in the garden. This is the poem in full which resulted from it.

The Hare

As the headlights lit the grass’s edge

A hare dashed down the darkening lawn,

Veered swift as star-beam to a distant hedge

And darted through a gap to path beyond.

Each evening he returned to sit, or shift

From shade of apple tree to lighter earth,

We watched him from a secret place,

Unashamed voyeurs of his twilight berth.

Why did we find such joy in him?

I think it was his private, compact life,

The rareness of him, too, and his proximity:

The fact he liked our soil, our grass.

Evening came and settled, and so did he,

Tense as a mouse on a prairie trail.

Imagining his solitary inwards sigh,

We felt his twitchy judgement, his diamond eye.

We see him still though we are gone,

And summer’s faded into cooler grey;

Upright on his haunches, ears like purses,

Heart throbbing on a Frenchman’s lawn.

Mike Gould (copyright 2018)

Although she suffers and feels often that life cannot go on, her enjoyment of my reading her this poem demonstrates, in some small way, the chink of light which language brings to those imprisoned by illness, age or circumstance.

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