This poem praises my mother. It is page 17 of my memoir in poems, “On the Rim of Wonder”. It seems appropriate to republish it here for Mother’s Day.
Barbara Lewis Duke, pretty, petite, blue-eyed, and blond, my mother,
one fearless, controlling woman. Long after Mom’s death, Dad said,
“Barbara was afraid of absolutely no one and nothing.” They married
late: 34 and 38. He adored her unconditionally. She filled my life
with horses, music, love, cornfields, hay rides, books, ambition. Whatever
she felt she had missed, I was going to possess: books, piano lessons, a
college education. Her father, who died long before I was born, loved fancy,
fast horses. So did she. During my preschool, croupy years, she quieted my
hysterical night coughing with stories of run away horses pulling her
in a wagon. With less than 100 pounds and lots of determination, she
stopped them, a tiny Barbie Doll flying across the Missouri River Bottom,
strong, willful, free.