This was a recent guest post for Shah @ Wordsinsync and it got some really great feedback so I would like to share it here on WYE? These two poems were made in succession and are meant to be read together. I’ll have you read them now and then we will discuss the content a bit…
The Raisin and the Rose
She brushes my locks out every night,
Long tresses are pulled and shined.
Her own withered curls fall out of place,
A mane overtaken by the color of salt.
My posture young, weightless and steady,
Her own hunched, crippled by stress.
Why is it we are moving away from each other?
Both growing, but one taller and the other older.
I seek the life outside, unfamiliar experiences at my fingertips.
She finds solace inside, safety in common comforts.
As I am ready to emerge, choosing a life, a profession, a lover.
She decides scrambled or boiled, wash or dry, Wal-Mart or K-Mart.
She’s shrivels, like a raisin forgotten on the vine.
And I, a rose, spotted from a distance, ready to be picked.
She’s a queen, not quite jealous of her daughter’s youth and beauty,
But never forgetting, never overlooking,
That someday this girl will take the throne.
She will be replaced.
My daughter’s reflection in the mirror
Contradicts everything about me.
Her young and sturdy shoulders,
Not yet burdened by the weight of the world,
Whereas I cripple at the sight of the cooled morning air.
Her gleaming hair reflects rays of sunshine,
While mine, limped curls that absorb the dry air and crinkle at its roots.
My lines, deep and hallow,
As hers become smoothed and defined.
She’s in a prime I surpassed years ago.
I'm a barren wasteland that has been emptied
Month by month, no longer able to create.
And her, supple and full, able to give way to pleasure
Without a sense of uselessness.
She’s a sweet rose that only need be picked.
And I, whose petals have already been plucked one by one,
Left to rot on the floor.
Why is it she is of my own making
And yet she’s taken a place I once held so dear;
One of youth and adventure.
I’ve been replaced.
Out of all the poems I have written, these have brought about the most controversy. Now, I think controversy can be a bit of fun, but, unlike some people who are keen on assumptions think, I am not condemning my own mother for aging here. Age is something no one can defy.
Instead, this poem speaks on two topics:
The first is a note on how our modern day American society thinks of our elders. Some cultures revere their old, take care of them without a sense of burden or selfishness. However, many Americans do not share the same views. Instead, the old are in the way, they should be replaced in the workplace, in the home. They should die and leave their place or money to others who are more vivacious, more apt to make the most out of it. Sound harsh?
The second is a note on many mother/ daughter relationships. I like to think I have a wonderful relationship with my mother. We talk often, get along, spend whole days together, laugh and cry together. However, not every relationship is like that. These poems are meant to shed light on the absurdities some mothers and daughters hold against one another things none of them can fight, such as, youth, “beauty,” fertility, and desire. Let it go. Realize that you are angry at nature and not one another. Love your mothers and daughters. No bond should be stronger.