Thursday, November 18, 2010

a brave poem by my mama

Gratitude By Gilda R. Block

Colon cancer came to call
He liked what he heard
He liked what he saw

Waste, want, wanton disregard for
Sleep, rest, nourishment, the rent
Lots of
pockets of grief
rockets of pain
small piles of soiled indifference
great heaps of despair
and the craving of a slashed and burned heart
a cold spoiling swirling wind raising
dark the wavelets in a cavernous pool of tears
everything awash in this

He took a room
He moved in
He slept, he ate, the days fled
He grew fat swollen charred and red
He bled—He laughed it off There’s plenty
more where that came from, he said
She lay in the cold empty tub dispensing
the small white rubber travel bags
of brewed coffee colored herbs from China’s forest
Making up pairs of names to call their future children
Each boy’s a Spanish
Each girl’s a flower’s
Paolo and Poppy
Rolando and Rose
passing the minutes
til the timer chimed

She climbed out
leaving the dripping spigot
to the shrewd
industrious country ants


  1. I'm so glad I got to be the first to comment on such an important post.

    Your mother was truly beautiful,
    and this poem is nothing less of extraordinary.

    So sorry for your loss.
    The amazing thing is that she could create such a beautiful poem from such ugliness in the world.

    So much love to you Francesca
    XOXO, Ette

  2. Immeasurable strength in these words, and obviously in the spirit that created them.

    Thank you for sharing this with us, Francesca. This beauty is transcendent.

  3. Here she faces the greatest of terrors with courage and poise and the grace of her beautiful words. She claims him as her lover and even names the children he will give her (the tumors) but this, too, becomes beautiful with the power of her words and imagination. In the end she accepts death, decay, the dissolution of everything by the ants but they are also "shrewd" and "industrious" showing fortitude and the promise that life goes on. Her mastery of sound and rhythm and image, her courageous honesty, prove that she has seduced and overcome "him"and her spirit has transcended.

  4. This is so incredibly beautiful. What a brave and beautiful soul, to be able to create this out of such depths. It appears you were blessed with a magical mama. Strength to you in your grieving.

  5. remarkable. thank you for sharing.

  6. I love the photo of your mother embracing the lilies.. her beautiful words also embrace her destiny. Thank you for sharing.