High wired for sensitivity and affection,
repressed creativity and neurotic perfectionism,
grappled daily with the practical concerns
of middle-class respectability.
The beating down not of the wise
but of the self, this was the price
for being a Catholic mother, in a society
that confined like a Mormon neighbourhood.
Your giddy outings to fashion
and fun, sparingly measured and sublimated
when the need arose, as it did so often,
to appear less animated.
Even the annual satirical show,
pithy and apposite for those in the know,
made light of a talent that was real
that for years you managed to conceal.
And after all that, you died in pain,
you did not cry out but whispered
your need for comfort—
agony was part of redemption.
Shakespeare was a balm
but sleep would not come
to knit the ravelled sleeve of care
as pain endured at two or four a.m.
You would whisper are you awake
have I suffered enough
do you think I am ready
will He take me, is it time to let go?
I missed that final parting,
the car did not want to drive
and my eyes were drenched
with a lifetime of love.