The Observer  by CGO

I watched my mother
from the kitchen doorway,
Her aproned, pocketed self,
strip of white hair
fell forward
as she eternally stirred
a big pot of soup.
A single drop of liquid mucus
slid the length of her
curved Italian nose
and hung at the tip
for an indeterminate moment.
Just when it seemed
it would fall into the soup,
she snatched a well-used tissue
from her pocket,
swiped at it,
repocketed the tissue
and continued stirring.
I didn’t speak
and she never turned.

I watched my mother
from the kitchen doorway
to find out who she was
to get answers by silent osmosis
to find out who I was to become
to get a sign that she was
more than an aproned role,
robotic, dutiful
to see if she would sense me there
turn, smile and perhaps say she loved me
or invite me into the kitchen
to teach me what she knew of
making soup and being a woman.

I watched my mother
from the kitchen doorway
because I wanted to tell her
things would be alright
that I loved her
that the length of kitchen
between us
separating us
wasn’t necessary
that we were safe.

I watched my mother
from the kitchen doorway
a distance of ten feet
because she needed space
her boundaries with him were nil
and she always felt threatened
she couldn’t tell by whom
…and she held me all those embraces away
because love always hurt.

****
Read this poem a second time.

Notice how I’ve used the line “I watched my mother from the kitchen doorway” to lead myself, as the writer, deeper into my subject?  As the reader, do you feel the rhythmic quality of this poem as this repeated line invites you into “the story”?

WRITING PROMPT:
Is there a theme that you’d like to deepen into?  Write one line that could be the initiator of this process and let your writing be guided by this repeated line.  By the way, the repeated line doesn’t have to begin the stanza; it could be within the body of the poem. That’s another type of challenge.

Good luck.

4 thoughts on “More on Repetition as a Deepening Tool

  1. Oh, how lyrical, lovely, and deep. I felt such a connection to your words. I am in the process of “watching my mother” as she declines with age (86). My adult children are watching too. They are still at the stage where they simply think it’s “not fair” to age this way. But I sense that they also want to see how I handle their grandmother so that someday they will know what to do when I start to forget…and wander…and lose my labels. I do have a line that has been rolling around in my mind for a poem. This is for the me that spent 50 years following rules, pleasing people, and losing myself. My newfound freedom and authenticity wants to know, “…and if someday I follow the wind.”

    Like

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