30 September 2007

Aunt Ruth

I didn't appreciate her then
when forced on someone to care for me.
But when she was long dead, I became a Jew
And made the promise of Ruth
on the Bema with that name
Moved by things taken for granted:
Socks perfectly white
bleached into submission every night
Fresh squeezed juice with every dawn
Dresses ironed to perfection
Birthday angel food cake beaten by hand.

She raised someone who didn't want to be there.
And I only knew her in her middle years
A barren woman who loved me more than I did her.
How do you pay back a roof or a place to be
From a woman once young enough to give me an Uncle Don.
Aunt Ruth read condensed books when she read at all
but bought me Alcott rather than unwanted dolls
And Great Books for graduation with a quote by
Hume on the dedication page.

She didn't live a happy life.
There were too many reasons to complain
She never learned to say thank you for favors done
They didn't exist when she had to clean up after everyone
while no one understood her pain
but then again, I must have loved her
I took her name, when she was gone.


Julie said...

I am a relatively new visitor so I don't know you..but you have a beautiful way about you. This is heartfelt and lovely. She knows you love her too.

enigma4ever said...

Oh that was so wonderful..and beautiful...I think she knew that you loved her....little things...like that she kept giving you books....watching someone read what you give them.....that is love....


maryt said...

Oh Jamie, your beautiful poem leaves me with so many questions...but I feel I know you now a little better.

I will think of Aunt Ruth periodically.

This Eclectic Life said...

Jamie, Jamie. It's sublime. See this is why I can't go out and read anymore. The bloggers I love (like you) intrigue me, then I get caught up in it and read more. I have to set my timer when I sit down at the computer and I have to force myself to quit when it starts to...