Thursday, May 31, 2012

I Remember

My mother keeps this photo of me at age 12 in her Bible. We were living at 37 Paddington Terrace in Jamaica when it was taken. That's the airy front verandah I remember. Seeing this today, I'm reminded of a poem my mother and I once memorized, simply because she loved it so. I can still hear our voices saying the words in unison, eyes locked and smiling.

I remember, I remember
The house where I was born
The little window where the sun
Came peeping in at morn.
It never came a wink too soon
Nor spent too long a day
But now I often wish the night
Had borne my breath away.

Now that I am grown, I realize the poem is a very sad one. The poet, Thomas Hood, goes on to evoke the end of life, a fever on the brow, mourning all that is past and will never be again, and the loss of the easy grace of an unfettered childhood. At 12, I grasped none of that. My whole experience of the poem was the rhythm of my voice timed to my mother's, and the knowledge that the moments we shared learning and reciting the verses were meaningful to her, and thus to me. Later, I learned this poem had been her mother's favorite. I think she was missing her mother on the day that she taught the verses to me. As I miss mine today.


  1. This post is another reason why I am so glad I came across your blog. So beautifully written!

  2. Oh, Angella...whenever I read your words I feel like I'm reading a delicious novel. So many truths, such beautiful rendering. Love to you! And goodness weren't you adorable!??!

  3. This has made a cry warm tears this morning, Angella. It's a beautiful poem and an even more beautiful image -- the one of you and your mother with locked eyes is something that I'll always remember. Your ability to draw out, so gently, the small moments of a life and give them deep, deep meaning is a gift. Thank you.

  4. Aw, sweetness.
    I love how you love your mother and how she has loved you. It makes me know it IS possible.
    I'm sorry you miss your mother. But I'm glad for the reason that you do.

  5. Posts like this make me feel so much emotion that I can't put it into words. You always have others who speak so eloquently in the comments of this blog. I feel the need to check in, to let you know I'm here, but I'm speechless.

  6. You are just . . . .sigh. Oh you.

  7. Look at you, that picture is perfection. Oh the poem, the many nuances to that poem. Isn't it startling, those moments of clarity when meaning clicks into place?
    ...the loss of the easy grace of an unfettered childhood.... those words stick in my heart today. Those and these I've lost the source for, but have written somewhere, that parenthood husks the soul. I feel very husked of late.

  8. I just discovered this blog through another. beautiful post. the line, "the rhythm of my voice timed to my mother's" lucky you were!

  9. You're a beautiful girl.

  10. You never cease to amaze me.