(for my mother’s sister)


What an old thorn you’ve been for me

and I for you, once a young green problem

pulled into our bodies

by the weight of my mother’s death,

passing through, tearing the flesh of belief

and the images of our common origin

from the womb of your mother

where this all began with those tiny seeds,

the only gifts grandfather gave

in his short and painful life;

the seeds become a daughter become a son

become a thorn, each to the other,

suffering, cursing, laughing, cajoling

until the edges rounded, the barbs dulled

and finally passed through our hearts

to flower again in shining red beauty,

rich with all the pain and laughter,

lowered to the earth of a warm hillside

with last tears and final adieu

to my long foe and dear ally,

your thorn and mine become the rose.




8 Responses to “Helen”

  1. Pichay says:

    WHEW! A rose, by any other name, is yet a rose–root and stem and leaf and blooming flower..and a very certain radiance, which the thorns could be understood to protect.

    Do thorny issues protect Truth? Or do we just indulge ourselves…in thorny issues? As for me, I shall love the whole, thorn and all.

  2. What a poignantly and instructively told tale of love through the looking glass called family.

  3. Ah, families. Functional, dysfunctional, whatever. All are training grounds for life and for letting go, eventually. And are spectacular proving grounds for forgiveness, especially of the self.

  4. Scott MacRae says:

    Fabulous poem Don.

  5. ed o'malley says:

    Surprise, there seems to be others who know us out there!

  6. Would that we could but see the reasons for or connections through all the ages. We would I think, find we have known each in this eternal life. All is meant to “round the edges” of our sometimes sharp life and bring us to love ourself who is the other. All the world is our family- thanks Don for bringing in the light.

  7. Denise Plamondon Curry says:

    Love this I will include it in the scrapbook I am making with the old black and white photos we found at Mom’s. Thanks Don.

  8. Jude says:

    Oh Don, what a reach your words have.
    May i use this poem during my family systems workshops?

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