Saturday, May 30, 2015

After-Shock dedicated to my mother Irene Ketover * (a 4 in 1 poem)

George Hodan 

dedicated to my mother Irene Ketover * 
(a 4 in 1 poem) 

Ah she limped southward home – suddenly feeling the feeble crawling
into the hollow between each purple breath-
a strange stark completely non-mystic malaise fell heavily over  her shoulders
leaning onto a newly given cane –
feet shuffling as though already caked with soil – through this pestilence
of soul – she moved,
hunched -burdened as any donkey whipped forward
neither, family, friend, nor compromised future any consolation –
As she limped southward home – wondering where the past twenty years
had vanished and how she – yes she - had suddenly become the old woman
in the mirror who refused to return her true image.

Of course the prodigal son returned with a roar at the news – rushing in manic maddening proclamation to save her from herself – a daughter one-thousand miles away collected each word as an obvious treasure – spilling her longing in e-mails already grieving, lighting candles in the silences between them as they spoke of weather reports and therapies, reasonable, quiet talk, that drove her to the edge of madness – returning long-shelved thoughts of a cool tavern and an afternoon of quiet solitary Scotch – anything to still the prodigal son and the dutiful daughter as she struggled to remember where she had put her-
                                                                                                (Inspired by Whirligig words 7 -5/31) 
They had a method in the old country for such descendant despair
the women would pick up complicated needlework and work -together
humming under the shade-trees.
The men, one fool after another - as young and sparkly eyed as small boys would break from
 their toil in the olive groves – move out of the sun, play dominoes – 
Though the women tsked and shook reproachful heads – 
there was not a single one that did not - after a while- 
smile – as they sat - women and men under the shade-trees
surrounded by stones bleached pale as the faded lace of old bridal gowns
the sun so strong that despair shriveled, dried and blew out across the green pastures - far into the unseen distance vanishing before reaching the gentle white dots of sheep grazing on the edge of the horizon.

As she climbed the stairs, unlocked her apartment door, limped in and
sat in the cool whir of air-conditioned air - among the things of her life-
time – her eyes drifted closed – and she felt the needle between her fingers the smooth edge of dominoes – and the imagined breeze in a created land of olive trees and grazing sheep and the laughter of simple living – and smiled –
in spite of it all.
                                                                                                            (Inspired by Whirligig words 8 -5/24)

When she woke - for surely she had slept – it was late –
darkness rudely fingered the sky and there was a full kettle on boil – curious and curiouser she thought – a top-hat sat on the table - just outside her vision flashed the white fur of a snow-shoe hare – Ah, she thought snarkily now this was nifty- a veritable cherry on the sundae of her supposed vanquished despair – For, you see, now she looked through the glass – spied her neatly arranged sitting room - all apparently in order - until she noticed the chain on the door switched from left to right a tumbled bag of carrots left on the kitchen counter swapped for a single unreachable ring sparkling in each carat of three– the then, the when and the now and without a single doubt
she realized Alice had returned and led her through the glass where she now stood befuddled, bewildered, and bewitched, pacing but without a hint of limp – breathing deep --
and free - fogging the glass from the other side – 
to return inside – hope rising like a bright red balloon swelled to bursting
 – delighted and disoriented – in equal measure - either on the edge of breaking free or about to
soar away deep 
bouncing on the wrong side of the mirror – 
She chose to laugh
and glass
crumbled about her
to sweet powder
despair to dust
blowing past her unpinned hair 

                                                                                                (Inspired by Whirligig words 9- 5-31)

            Note -
  • Dedicated to my mother Irene Ketover who is coming back stronger than ever after her recent surgery - This single poem in 4 stanzas – represents the surreal world and state of mind - many find themselves inhabiting after a simple fall and a broken hip.  - I included the words from Whirligigs 6-9 in order to catch up.


  1. I thought that was a lovely read. Thanks for sharing!

  2. This read like a short story.. getting old and limping.. the children far away, and those dreams.. what a narrative.. an epic and universal story with many layers of nostalgic poignancy...

  3. What a wonderful journey through time and space...the wonderful thing about alternate realities (an friends) is that age and pain and all the heaviness of reality does become lighter and we can fly and laugh albeit in a powder induced way...but the wise get out before the powder takes grip ;) May hips mend and words never fail us

  4. Well you have certainly given us a feast on this catch-up on four whirligigs. I immediately associated this with hallucinating with the pain and the accompanying drug therapy from the hip pain, operation and recovery. I read it over and over and it still pointed this way for me.

  5. I like how your poem picks up the pace at the end.

  6. love the flowing story line & specially the end...

  7. What an absolutely lovely poem! It reads like an epic :D

  8. Oh, man. This is particularly vivid, Pearl:
    "into the hollow between each purple breath"
    Well done.

  9. I love the depiction of the prodigal son and the dutiful real-to-life :-)

  10. You took us right inside her head and her situation............the limp, the cane, the children at a distance, the "pestilence of soul" (wow!).....I took as much pleasure and she did in the memory of the ladies and men under the afternoon trees....a simpler time.........a fantastic write, Pearl, and a true gift to your mother as you sojourned inside her head with such empathy.

  11. A wonderful story and so glad your mother is coming back even stronger...

  12. This is a great story Pearl. II and IV have powerful stuff. So true about how our parents usually ignore the effect of slips, falls...

  13. Have you written longer works Pearl? There s a tender sense in this that feels palpalbe in your telling

    1. Hi Audrey - I have three unpublished novels and several non-fiction books that were published years ago - also have about a dozen short stories - never submitted... poetry frankly was always something done for "fun" while I worked on longer works until I began to submit and get published poetically .... :)

  14. So wonderful. I really love the tenderness this subject is handled with. I can see my grandmother in the first three stanzas so clearly.

  15. Bravo!

    I apologize for my absence lately... Getting older and napping often. (I think I'm finally paying for my reckless youth :-)

  16. What a lovely story ... I could identify with pieces of the poem and in other parts saw people and events that were just too real for comfort ... but what a beautiful ending. A great read from beginning to end. Bastet

  17. Such a beautiful story. Love the narrative, the poetic images, the messages... A true favorite!