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Saturday, December 5, 2015

Meditation on trains and away from home: Letting Go

Letting Go

When will the eruption happen? I won-
der. I practice meditation techniques
while visiting so I will breath and live.

Ever admitting the fear would be dan-
gerous, so I zip it except once, when
I ask mom to stop and to let me drive.

We argue later.  I was scared, I say.
You scare too easily, she retorts. 
I know exactly where the edges are.

She found my edges, ditch on one side and
oncoming traffic on the other, my
heart in my mouth and my life in her hands.

She seems half crazy to me as she clings
to her rights and independence.  Does she
truly know whether she knows or do I?

Witness of the hour, I don’t engage or
argue.  I try not to look sad as she
lists all the ways she is careful.  She is.

I don’t want her to feel caged, watched and un-
happy.  I don’t want to be the cause of
curtailed freedom.  I want no regrets.  None.

Forgive me, brothers and other drivers
I can’t say never more, be the raven at 
her door, carrying in reality.

I have had her for almost 100
years and so meditate to breathe and
to breathe and to give her loving kindness.

Posted ot Poets United Poetry Pantry #281

(My country roads are in Upstate New York, Greene County on the Hudson River,
given lots of words in my book ReMothering: Poetry by Susan Chast.)

Copyright © 2015  S.L.Chast


  1. I love the tenderness with which this poem is written.. Beautifully put :)

    Lots of love,

  2. Your mother sounds like such a strong woman - I really feel how you admire but is there also fear in your voice.

  3. Oh I can so relate....when I call my mom or visit, I have to remember to zip it as well. And oh the scary driving. We do get our strength from them.....and in the end we give thanks for each additional day with loving kindness!

  4. Oh I so resonate with this poem. The difference being I recognize my limitations and am the first to stop driving at times when it would not be safe for me or others. It is hard for some to give up their independence. Having worked with the elderly for so many years, I do not fight these transitions myself. But I do understand how hard it is for many. They resist. I hear your not wanting to be the one to say the words - but maybe a quiet word to her doctor and then HE can????????

  5. Oh this is painful to read...and I do understand how hard it must be for you to wonder just how long it will be safe for your mother to do certain things...like drive. She sounds fiercely independent, which is a good thing, but scary as well. Glad she is aware of how to be 'safe.' But still the worry. Is one ever ready to stop driving? I don't think so. I like it when you write poems which are a slice of real life.

  6. It is hard to balance the continuation of independence with reality of some diminished capacity. We want to be loving and respectful and yet, when they cross over the line too many times or almost swipe that mailbox or almost not stop in time...it is hard. You obviously love your mother so much and are so grateful for her in your life. Again, it is hard.

  7. Your mother wishes to hold on to her independence and yet some of the reality is scary. I usually drive my mom when we go somewhere together as I get too stressed out when she drives. I often wonder how she gets about by herself at times. I can feel the deep love in your words.

  8. How hard it is to break free from family and be truly independent even when they are not in your life. What would they do or what would they say? Luckily my brother needed more help than me so I escaped! It is so important to let your children go. Most insightful poem.

  9. This just exudes an aching tenderness. I really thought this poem was so beautifully rendered. It is an important piece and one of my faves of yours, Susan.

  10. what a wonderful, beautiful and free spirit is your mom Susan, though it's scary to let her drive considering her age....one could feel the tender heart of the speaker beating with worry....

  11. A wonderful poem! Such a unique and honest description of her and your relationship.

  12. She found my edges is such a powerful line - it hints at being pushed to the brink of them...i suppose we have to create our own boundaries and edges..to move forward and step away a little knowing there may well be an eruption but it is not necessarily our job to deal with the fallout

  13. Susan,
    I know exactly how you feel about this...I have about the same situation going on. Not an easy transition to make, but you've evoked it in an artful and delicate way. By the way, I notice in your album note that you're from Greene County. We share some of the same roads. I'm up in Albany.
    Steve K.

  14. so tender and thoughtful and what a difficult journey - metaphorically as well - these lines so carefully considered:
    "I can’t say never more, be the raven at
    her door, carrying in reality"

    nevertheless truth is often better than collusion - (how closely that word is to collision!)

  15. Your words reminded me of so much. My mother passed away five years ago at the age of 91. Those last few years were difficult, tiptoeing around the edges, trying to be so careful. Yet, I miss her every day and still wish she could have stayed longer,


  16. there is so much love in this bonding trip with your Mom; thanks for sharing Susan. I am happy you dropped in at my Sunday Lime.

    much love...

  17. this is the second day in a row i am re-reading this poem.
    i wanted to say how lovely this poem is, but i think it is already beyond lovely. then i realized what draws me back. the human emotions entwined in those words. you were scared because you loved your mother so much.

  18. A question we all must ask ourselves when the time come will we graciously bow out, very good poem.

  19. Oh, Susan, how well I remember arguments with my mother who insisted she was ok to live alone in the inner city of New York. It was a long process, filled with fear and tension, before she conceded to come and live with me. My heart is with you. I understand how you don't want to be the villain, but now you're just becoming the wiser parent.


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