OneLinerWeds – Gifts From My Mother

My mother had a voracious appetite for books. She read all the time unless something like work required something else of her. For years I steered away from reading and books because I think in a way, I felt books robbed me of time with her.

She grew up working on the family farm. They all put in a lot of hours raising tobacco, feed corn and dairy cows. There are no days off for farmers. The day starts early and ends late. Sleep is a necessity. In the few evening hours, they all read. My mother was the youngest of six children and reading was often the only escape.

When we were kids, however, mom always read us poetry. Narrative poems were among her favorites and we loved hearing her read to us. Many of them were tragic tales. The words and the lyrical quality of writing is probably what made me fall in love with words.

Lines like these were hypnotic.


From “The Highwayman”

The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas. 


from “The Wreck of the Hesperus”

She struck where the white and fleecy waves
Looked soft as carded wool,
But the cruel rocks, they gored her side
Like the horns of an angry bull.


From “Annabel Lee”

And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.


from “The Raven”

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;


from “Paul Revere’s Ride”

Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the dead,
In their night-encampment on the hill,
Wrapped in silence so deep and still


Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Mary Oliver

One Liner Wednesday is sponsored each Wednesday by Linda Hill. It is an open invitation if you wish to join in.

22 thoughts on “OneLinerWeds – Gifts From My Mother”

  1. One of my fondest memories of teaching in a fourth grade classroom is a poetry unit we enjoyed, using a book of classics for children. I invited our elderly principal in to recite “In Flanders Fields”. He still remembered it from his school days. The children were very impressed, and I gave each of them a copy. One day the following summer, I answered a knock at my door, and a former student was there to tell me her family had just laid her great grandfather to rest. They had been searching for a copy of the poem “In Flanders Fields,” and she told me proudly she had it among her keepsakes from fourth grade and that was the copy they used.

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  2. I really enjoyed this post it gave me a real feel for your family. My parents were great readers. My father read to me often, on reflection my mother not so much….I do wonder why ? 💜💜

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    1. My Dad never read to us, Willow. He did not come from a family of readers and I think that makes all the difference. Thank you for reading.


  3. I loved The Highwayman. Most of the others are familiar too from school days. My mother read detective novels, sending Dad to the library for them. He took to marking them with a pencil so he knew which ones she’d read!

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    1. The Highwayman is such a powerful and visually inspiring poem, Mary. My mom loved romance novels and American western paperback novels. They were all over the house!

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  4. I remember Annabel Lee and the Raven fondly. Hiking through Bastrop State Park and repeating the words over and over again to memorize them for 7th grade literature class.

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    1. My daughter can still recite “The Cremation of Sam McGee” from her school days. Amazing what sticks with us. Mine is “Little Orphant Annie”.

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  5. Poems are like songs in being memorable and cherished and maybe more personal as we read them at our own pace. Thank you for sharing these rich and beautiful memories,

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