08 May 2005

How Schmaltzy Was His Worst

      With Mother's Day coming-- and arriving today-- Emule earlier this week sent out to its readership the following poem from Wendell Berry.   Like all relatively-dutiful sons, I'm always on the lookout for stuff Mom might like, but this poem is so wretched it deserves quoting here just for its unbearable badness. Yes, it's so bad on so many levels, one hardly knows where to begin identifying them, or even if one should bother to do so, the clutch of sentimentality so strong one wonders if the poor man even had a choice in putting the words together.   (He says, all-too-aware of that clutch's irresistible and lung-crushing power.)   But, here it is, for those of you desperately looking for something-- anything-- to write in your cards today.  

To My Mother

I was your rebellious son,
Do you remember? Sometimes
I wonder if you do remember,
So complete has your forgiveness been.

So complete has your forgiveness been
I wonder sometimes if it did not
Precede my wrong, and I erred,
Safe found, within your love

Prepared ahead of me, the way home,
Or my bed at night, so that almost
I should forgive you, who perhaps
Foresaw the worst that I might do,

And forgave before I could act,
Causing me to smile now, looking back,
To see how paltry was my worst,
Compared to your forgiveness of it

Already given. And this, then,
Is the vision of that Heaven of which
We have heard, where those who love
Each other have forgiven each other,

Where, for that, the leaves are green,
The light a music in the air,
And all is unentangled,
And all is undismayed.

--- Wendell Berry
(Gee, that prodigal really is obsessed with forgiveness, isn't he?)

      Anyway, to mothers everywhere-- and for once, I'm using the "m" word according to its original intention-- have a good day, which, hopefully for you, means not having to read poetry like this.

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