Día de la Madre: poemas tiernos y extraños / Mother’s Day poems, tender and strange

 Jewelweed seedling in the backyard_May 5th 2016

Jean Nordhaus (nace 1939)

Un diente de león para mi madre


Cómo yo amaba esos soles apuntiagudos

arraigados tercamente, como la niñez, en la hierba;

resistentes como los niños de la granja – con sus grandes cabezas

(esos tapetes de cabello amarillo con el flequillo “corte a la taza”).


Cómo eran robustos eso amargones

y se transformaron en galaxias,

bóvedas de estrellas-fantasmas apenas visibles por día,

cerebros pálidos agarrándose de la vida en sus tallos verdes correosos.


Como tú.

Como tú, finalmente.

Si habías estado aquí, yo habría recolectado esa estera temblorosa

para enseñar la belleza que posea una cosa

una cosa que el aliento arrancará.



. . .

Kenn Nesbitt (nace 1962)

Nota de amor en la lonchera


Dentro de mi lonchera

hay una nota de amor, acorazonada;

qué sorpresa – descansa ahí.


Se lee el exterior:

¿Serás mía?

¿Quisieras ser mi pareja de San Valentín?


La saqué,


quien quiera decirme Te Amo.


Quizás es una muchacha

que es tan tímida – no puede dármela

cara a cara.

O tal vez fue escribido, suavemente, a solas,

de una amiga secreta,

que buscó mi lonchera

y metió la nota – furtivamente.


Oh, estaré entusiasmado

si es Josefina

la linda en la fila segunda.

¿O sea Jennifer?

¿Ha descubierto que quedo encantado con ella?


Mi mente está encendido,

mis hombros – tensos;

no me necesita más suspenso.

Mi estómago se tambalea en mi garganta

abro mi pequeña nota.


Pues el mensaje retumba

igual que una bomba;

adentro se lee

Te quiero –– tu mamá.



. . .

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)

A qualquier lector


De la casa tu madre te mira mientras estás jugando

alrededor de los árboles en el jardín.

Pero veas, si doy una miradita por la ventana de este libro,

que un otro niño existe, en otro jardín – a lo lejos –

y juega también.


Pero no pienses en absoluto que

podrás tocar a la ventena para

llamar a ese niño;

parece decidido a jugar a su negocio – su asunto;

no puede oírte y no te contemplará:

él no estará sonsacado de este libro.


Porque hace mucho tiempo

hablo la verdad –

ha madurado y se ha marchado,

y solo hay un niño etéreo que

se detiene en el jardín allí.

. . .

Judith Kroll

Tu ropa


Son cáscaras vacías, claro – sin esperanza de ánimo;

por supuesto son artefactos.

Aunque mi hermana y yo nos pongamos esas prendas

o donemos unas otras –

siempre serán tus vestidos, sin ti,

así como seremos para siempre tus hijas

sin ti.



. . .

Grace Paley (1922-2007)

En el Día de la Madre


Salí y caminaba por el viejo barrio…


¡Mira! Hay más árboles en la manzana,

con “nomeolvides” en los alrededores;

hiedra lantana que brilla y

geranios en la ventana.


Hace veinte años

la gente creía que las raíces de los árboles

se meterían en la tubería del gas

pues se caerían, envenenados,

sobre las casas y los niños;

o saltarían a las cañerías de la ciudad,

hambreando por nitrógeno;

¡obstruirían el alcantarillado!


En esos días, durante las tardes,

yo flotaba en el trasbordador hacia Hoboken o Staten Island

pues empujaba a los bebés en sus carriolas

a lo largo de la pared del río, observando Manhattan.

¡Mira Manhattan!, grité, ¡Nueva York!

Donde no brilla, aun al atardecer,

pero la ciudad está parado en fuego,

carbón de leña hasta la cintura.


Pero durante esta tarde de domingo, este Día de la Madre,

caminé al oeste y llegué en Hudson Street;

banderas tricolores ondeaban sobre muebles en venta

hechos de madera de roble viejo;

armazones de la cama de latón,

y cacerolas y jarrones de cobre

– por libra de la India.


De repente, ante mis ojos,

veintidós travestis en un desfile alegre

metieron cojines bajo sus vestidos bonitos

y entraron en un restaurante

debajo de un letrero que se leyó:

Todas las madres embarazadas comen gratis.


Les observé colocando servilletas sobre sus vientres

y aceptando café y zabaglione.


Estoy especialmente abierta a la tristeza y la hilaridad

desde mi padre murió,

como si fuera un niño,

hace una semana,

y en su año nonagésimo.

. . .

Versiones de Alexander Best

. . .

Jean Nordhaus (born 1939)

A Dandelion for my Mother


How I loved those spiky suns,

rooted stubborn as childhood

in the grass, tough as the farmer’s

big-headed children—the mats

of yellow hair, the bowl-cut fringe.

How sturdy they were and how

slowly they turned themselves

into galaxies, domes of ghost stars

barely visible by day, pale

cerebrums clinging to life

on tough green stems. Like you.

Like you, in the end. If you were here,

I’d pluck this trembling globe to show

how beautiful a thing can be

a breath will tear away.



. . .

Kenn Nesbitt (born 1962)

Lunchbox Love Note


Inside my lunch

to my surprise

a perfect heart-shaped

love note lies.


The outside says,

Will you be mine?”

and, “Will you be

my valentine?”


I take it out

and wonder who

would want to tell me

I love you.”


Perhaps a girl

who’s much too shy

to hand it to me

eye to eye.


Or maybe it

was sweetly penned

in private by

a secret friend


Who found my lunchbox

sitting by

and slid the note in

on the sly.


Oh, I’d be thrilled

if it were Jo,

the cute one in

the second row.


Or could it be

from Jennifer?

Has she found out

I’m sweet on her?


My mind’s abuzz,

my shoulders tense.

I need no more

of this suspense.


My stomach lurching

in my throat,

I open up

my little note.


Then wham! as if

it were a bomb,

inside it reads,

I love you—Mom.”



. . .

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)

To Any Reader


As from the house your mother sees

You playing round the garden trees,

So you may see, if you will look

Through the windows of this book,

Another child, far, far away,

And in another garden, play.

But do not think you can at all,

By knocking on the window, call

That child to hear you. He intent

Is all on his play-business bent.

He does not hear; he will not look,

Nor yet be lured out of this book.

For, long ago, the truth to say,

He has grown up and gone away,

And it is but a child of air

That lingers in the garden there.

. . .

Judith Kroll

Your Clothes


Of course they are empty shells, without hope of animation.

Of course they are artifacts.


Even if my sister and I should wear some,

or if we give others away,


they will always be your clothes without you,

as we will always be your daughters without you.



. . .

Grace Paley (1922-2007)

On Mother’s Day


I went out walking

in the old neighbourhood…


Look! more trees on the block,   

forget-me-nots all around them;   

ivy lantana shining,

and geraniums in the window.


Twenty years ago

it was believed that the roots of trees

would insert themselves into gas lines

then fall, poisoned, on houses and children;


or tap the city’s water pipes – starved   

for nitrogen; obstruct the sewers.


In those days in the afternoon I floated   

by ferry to Hoboken or Staten Island   

then pushed the babies in their carriages   

along the river wall, observing Manhattan.   

See Manhattan, I cried: New York!

Even at sunset it doesn’t shine

but stands in fire, charcoal to the waist.

But this Sunday afternoon on Mother’s Day

I walked west and came to Hudson Street: tricoloured flags   

were flying over old oak furniture for sale;

brass bedsteads, copper pots and vases

by the pound from India.


Suddenly, before my eyes, twenty-two transvestites   

in joyous parade stuffed pillows under   

their lovely gowns

and entered a restaurant

under a sign which said All Pregnant Mothers Free.


I watched them place napkins over their bellies   

and accept coffee and zabaglione.


I am especially open to sadness and hilarity   

since my father died – as a child,

one week ago in this his ninetieth year.

. . . . .



May Day poems: For a better world and the best Us!

Jewelweed or Touch Me Not sprouting in the backyard_May 1st 2016. . .

William Heyen

(born 1940, Brooklyn, New York, USA)

Emancipation Proclamation


Whereas it minds its own mind

& lives in its one place so faithfully

& its trunk supports us when we lean against it

& its branches remind us of how we think


Whereas it keeps no bank account but hoards carbon

& does not discriminate between starlings and robins

& provides free housing for insects & squirrels

& lifts its heartwood grave into the air


Whereas it holds our firmament in place

& writes underground gospel with its roots

& whispers us oxygen with its leaves

& so far survives our new climate of ultraviolet


Whereas it & its kind when we meet beneath them

shade our sorrows & temper our prayers

& their colours evoke our dream of beauty

from before we were born into this hereafter


We the people for ourselves & our children

necessarily proclaim this tree

free from commerce,

& belonging to itself

as long as it

& we

shall live.

. . .

Glenn Sheldon

(Massachusetts, USA)

Years Unite to Become Centuries


There is much in accumulation:

snow becoming snowstorms,

books burning to reveal

libraries as our only eternities.


One poet murdered by a revolution

leads to other poets hanging naked

in another dictator’s courtyard.


One kiss can become kisses,

all the prodigal sons returned home

at the same time: laughter unleashed.


Not one wine bottle to toast with

but millions.


Not a stampede by one, but by hundreds

of humans with purpose

(in a universe placing its bets on chaos).


A tree looks solid, until its rings

are revealed, ripples in a secret history.


Then there are the mass graves,

where names become one – The-Stolen-From-Us.


Never forget or become forgettable, for

zero is a trickster, a turncoat, a secret tyrant.

The calendar is both a powerful ally and a foe.

. . .

Susan Lang

(Arizona, USA)

Out the Window


No one should design a kitchen

without a window over the sink.

Imagine washing dishes


when you couldn’t watch the clouds

break apart after an afternoon rain,

backlit so their centres glow


like swirling clouds in Tiepolo’s

paintings, the edges shredding

into neighbours’ trees, or like papers


you read about in the Sunday Times,

memos “tangled in the boughs”

after days of protests in the streets


of a city you’ve never visited.

You don’t know if the kitchens

in that city have windows,


you aren’t familiar with the buildings

that line the central square, or the sound

of the sirens police use


in that city. But you can imagine

the papers, imagine throwing

fistfuls of papers from the office


which does, indeed, have a window

looking out over the square;

you can feel the wind that stirs the papers


like leaves that have not yet pushed

into the revolution of a painted sky.

. . .

Luis H. Francia

(Philippines / USA)

#7: Prayer for Peace


May a bird kill a cannon

and a baby destroy a gun

May buildings banish missiles

and children stop tanks

May a mother’s love burn bombs

and hand grenades

May palm trees and olive groves

overwhelm planes with their

beauty and bounty

May the rivers and the earth repel

all things that stain and sully them

May blood spilled flow back into the

veins of the innocent dead

May families rise up out of the ashes

to break bread once more

May love curl around the barren hearts of men

May the flowers of imagination bloom in their minds

May our wars be only of words, never of swords

May the gods we pray to be

without history, without names

without nations, without creeds

without religion

May I love you in laughter and grace all the

Days without end.

. . .

More poems…



Otros poemas…




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