Poet's Home             All Poetry       Sign Up!  Login
© 2000-2020 Individual Authors of the Poetry. All rights reserved by authors.   352382 Poems Read.

Search for Poetry


Read Poetry
Wisdom of the Infinite

If Prejudice Were Dumb And Could Not Speak

The Differences

The Springtime Shadows Play Games Upon The Wall

A Little Bit of Harlem in Your Life

The Voice Lost In the Wires

Home, Ghuey, Sweet Home

All Beings Considered

After Wide Sargasso Sea

Great Big Waterproof World

The Storm

I Turn Forward

Patch-Worked Trilogy

And Then It Wasn't Hard To Be Eight Years Old

Prairie Town Progress

Beyond Door Number Three

Great Spirit

Elise, Elise

The Make-Up of Molecules

Someone Send Out A Search Party

Make (of) Me A Snow Angel

Threading Myself Through The River Called Night

Not For The Bloom of Tears Cultivated These Last 100 Years

The Dreaming Life ( A Series Of Dream Vignettes)





At Night I Dream of Vampires Who Have No Bad Intentions

morning thoughts (begin again)

Human History is Pockmarked With Tragedy

Unseen, The Lilacs And The Daffodils

More Poetry >>


  Sign Guestbook

Read Guestbook


Mrs. Stine, Isn't It Time?

Mrs. Stine
who lived down our street
was a plain woman
and always kind
gentle in her own subtle way

Mrs. Stine
gave patient violin lessons
for very little money
to the very young and unaccomplished
she played the violin in the small town community orchestra
for all the years she lived of her life
in Fargo

once upon a time
Mrs. Stine
possessed three children
who attended grade school
she lived with a very
stern husband
in a fine sprawling ranch house
in a quieter, uneventful
middle-class neighborhood

one winter afternoon
she returned home earlier than usual
from one of her patient violin lessons
to find her quiet home emptied
of her three children,
one stern husband,
and all they owned

I can imagine her reaction
perhaps she fainted dead away
or fell crying in a heap
with no chair to keep her from collapsing
onto the bare, formerly carpeted floor
all the furnihings gone
her three children gone
and blurred visions of her stern husband
echoing in her aching head
his fingers a-wagging
his voice raised and rising
again and again

the husband
who had been the town Rabbi
the pillar of her community
one who'd now whisked away her
three overly-polite children
who, I imagined,
rarely, if ever, made their Father angry
always doing as they were told

the truth was
I never saw her publicly shed a single tear
nor any hanging of her small head in shame
I wouldn't have blamed her
if she had gone mad
made a public display of her grief
flailing her arms about
like one who'd like to fly away
from so much grief and shame
but she never did

she wore her inherited shabbiness of circumstance
in other more subtler ways
she seemed to wear the same coat
for most of her days
the same clothing was layered for small comfort
to hide the wear and holes for years

and she lived in a less than modest
two room dank basement apartment
damp cold in the winter
to make up for the compromise of coolness
she may have relished during
the steamier North Dakota summers

Mrs. Stine
was our long-standing
holiday dinner guest all those years
she wore her tired smile
as someone would wear a newly purchased outfit
I think she wore her cheerfulness
to ingratiate herself into our company
so greatly she feared abandonment

her smile so much a constant costume
so she'd not have to be so alone
I know for a fact
she did not see any of her children again
until they were nearly fully grown
to early adulthood

more than eleven years later
she brought her daughter Jessie
to meet me again at the store where I worked
Mrs. Stine playing her best well-acted role yet
the Sainted Mother who had never experienced
how well she did her best
to give no evidence of ever being bereft
at being forgotten,
penniless, childless
and alone
in a community which only valued
status, children and wifely accomplishments

what had they left her
but small stubborn pride
and a will to survive
a waif, a wisp in the high prairie winds
of North Dakota

she ought to have brought her violin
instead of bringing her daughter
to the vintage store where I worked
her playing had become so beautiful and poignant

I took no pleasure in meeting her
haughty daughter
who many years before had been
my childhood nemesis
my own personal bully

with age
the daughter had become plain and unremarkable
but Mrs. Stine never understood
real ugliness
she reintroduced her daughter
as if the two of us had been friends always
it was important, after all,
for Mrs. Stine
for me to like Jessica

I embraced Mrs. Stine warmly
but only coolly acknowledged her daughter
I couldn't help myself

how many times had my family
welcomed Mrs. Stine to our holiday dinner table
I knew all too well
her daughter was only passing through again
her Mother, a temporary obligation

I looked right through Jessica
who realized
I recognized her ruse
and blushed amber red

how do people obliterate a family member's memory
as if they never existed
nor had any former association
I could only imagine how
Mrs. Stine must have been forced to live
in a kind of protective amnesiac's world

how else could she have hid her pain
and given all those patient violin lessons
was this the reason why she played her violin
so beautifully
so poignantly

Mrs. Stine,
isn't it time,
you were remembered,
in all of your pained and patient beauty?

(for those who are wondering,
this is not fictional, but all too true.)



Vote for this poem

Please Comment On This Poem


 Email Address


Vote for this poem