I've never been one to truly enjoy poetry other than that from children's books and English Lit texts, with their specific rhythms and rhyming words...I'm not one whose parents read poems to me; I read my own,favoring those by Ogden Nash. Reading to my three kids, I had fun pronouncing Dr. Seuss' words and rhymes. Recently sharing her writing with me, my friend DJ is showing me how to appreciate poetry that sings but doesn't rhyme.
At the Jackson, MS, rally for breast cancer held recently, sponsored by the Susan Koman Foundation, DJ received permission to read the following to an enthusiastic and receptive audience. This is dedicated to all women who are having or have had chemotherapy:
One of my most vulnerable moments of my mother's experience with cancer occurred when I went outside to "help" her brush out her hair. My hair-removal efforts were minimal at best, because I really didn't want my mother's hair to come out. Mom, however, brushed quite vigorously--she was on a 'mission'. She wanted her hair to fall outdoors because she didn't want to add hair-clogged drains to my father's concerns that day. She cheerfully told me that she thought the birds could use the extra nesting material. Even after she voiced these positive points, I still struggled. Writing this poem provided needed resolution for me as I moved beyond the world's view of beauty, symbolized below by the gilded mirror, to a fuller appreciation of her spiritual beauty and strength, represented by the looking glass. My mother has asked that I share this poem, "A Reflection on Two Mirrors," with other women going through cancer in hopes that it might be a blessing to them as well. My own prayers go with it.
A REFLECTION OF TWO MIRRORS
A woman's crowning glory, her hair,
Unwillingly relinquished and surrendered,
Drifts and falls gently about her feet:
A necessary casualty of the battle.
But she does not let the loss take her spirit
Down into the depths, for at this very moment
Is the victory as the crowning glory of this world
Yields to a far more glorious crown.
And yet the world's gilded mirror, while resplendent,
In confusion furrows its brow and frowns
Because it cannot understand and
Capture the spirit's radiant countenance.
The looking glass, albeit with body and soul laid bare,
Emerges triumphant through the tempering;
And it alone reveals there is no greater beauty
Than the human spirit tested and shown true.