passing it on

passing it on
               for Claudia

I.
  to the mother

your cross
small
gilded
never knew
its story
you’d wear
it with your
blazer at
bowls
a rare
evening
at a restaurant
mostly it
kept to itself
in the case
lined with
red felt
finally
getting an
outing again
your daughter
in-law close
enough to
a daughter
you said
is wearing
it this day
in church
before
the cross
that made
yours.

II.
   to the daughter-in-law

she was
always far
and near
as you
get by
phone
careful of
what a
mother
in-law
could say
should say
tried to
keep it
at any rate
down to
earth helping
out in the
kitchen those
times you were
together like
the grand-daughter’s
wedding where
she took the
honours for
having come
furthest
to attend
no-one else
knew the son
you married
as you two
yet all the
talk she could
muster would
still never
figure him out
for either
of you
a man truly
out on a limb
of his own
making
as many
of us are
so be it
you wear her
cross as
mothers do
in touching it
touch
her
too.

24 december 2013

 

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