Holly Conlon is teaching a class on poetry in our parish. Today is the last day for this series of four classes. This was my first poem from class a couple of weeks ago using a scene from our life experience.
Pink and Perseverance
The dark Indiana soil received my mother’s body today
As our spirits mingled among the soft July breezes and the thick grass.
My family piled up our memories at her grave’s edge
Along with the arrangements of white lilies and roses.
Mom sewed a white chasuble with blue trim for my ordination many years ago
I draped it over the casket feeling her prayers imbedded in every stitch.
Somewhere beyond the dirt grave God will receive it from her own hands.
After leading the songs and prayers over the casket
I invited my family to imitate her favorite gesture of farewell.
Each of us waved goodbye to her with both hands in the air.
That prayer fluttered across the cemetery releasing peace.
I closed the ritual book and felt serenity and relief.
Suddenly from out of the crowd
An African American woman wearing a red dress
Grasped my right hand and held it tightly to her bosom.
She whispered to me the surprise; she was a seer.
Her cheeks were tearstained and her smile soul-deep
As she spoke close to my face that she felt my mother’s passing.
My mother not yet in her grave spoke to her
That the white flowers I gave her were sweetly appreciated.
She wanted to remind me that her favorite color was pink.
With blood rushing to my face I stood in silence
And waited for more of mother’s words.
The woman who had sung above the gathered crowd during our prayer
Spoke to me in the most beautiful voice my heart has heard.
The seer spoke from her soulful knowing that Mom wants me to
Persevere in my priesthood.
The beautiful seer in red strolled through the mourners nearly unnoticed
And drove away without telling me her name.
I waved goodbye with both hands
Standing silently at the edge of Mom’s grave
Treasuring the moment of white, pink and red.
Ronald Patrick Raab, CSC