in 2005 i had the privilege of reading this poem to my grandmother, molly, on the occasion of her 90th birthday in front of friends in family.  i had the privilege of reading the poem again yesterday at the memorial service celebrating her life.
note: bujel mann hadd kereselek is a hungarian phrase: ‘go hide yourself, i’ll come find you.’

molly
a poem of celebration

bujel mann hadd
kereselek

where you stand,
in the orchard
the same squint
in your eye
you gave to
your daughters
suggesting mischief

molly
tapping those fingers
traced with the
scent of ginger
candies, newspaper,
cabbage and
cinnamon,
taps them
against the air
in time
with the sweet
soft melody
carried on the wind

did not
bury her talents
but planted them
here, in the ground
chose each seed
carefully
kneaded the hard earth
between her fingers
puckered her face
and told those
seeds to grow
magic she learnt
years earlier
on the farm

go hide yourself, molly
in the orchard of
your life
there
where you held hands
and whispered softly
to your loving kal
laughed with him and
sang gentle songs
from the back
of your throat
an old language
from across the sea

bujel mann hadd
kereselek

among the memories
of your life
too many to count

children who were
quick to trust you
love your voice
in the cold morning
air of the
schoolhouse

innocent
warm tears on your
cheek
at one, lonely
peeled orange

those kind, hard
working people
who set their jaw
against the Great
Depression with you

the heavy, uneasy
thought of
loved ones away at
war
quickened heartbeats
with letters and news in
the mail
the sure sound of the
radio spilling out onto
the prairies
feel of paper
between your fingers
words you savored
and contemplated
unwinding music
at the theatre in town
bare feet
the fields, sun
thunderstorms
imagination taking flight
under blue blue
sky

five children to
love and
the orchard grew
provinces, cities
towns to
set roots in
more names to
give and
remember
write on
envelopes
on birthday cards

then, there
were tears to shed
difficult words
to learn
with time and
place:

multiple sclerosis

a son in a wheel
chair
certain to give
your own legs
if only to see
him run again

cancer, dementia

a good, loving
husband who
for a moment
forgot your name

all the pain
only a mother and
wife
and grandmother
can know

but you spoke those
words with
dignity
with grace
and still the
foolishness and
the faith to say
Lord, you have been our
dwelling place
from everlasting to
everlasting
you are
God

go, hide yourself
I’ll find you where you stand
patiently wait
for that laugh
of yours
clear enough to wake
the dead
shy and silly
as a girl’s
the comfort only
grandchildren
can know
children you convinced
to love the alphabet
before they could
speak
children you prayed
for
every day
of their lives

and oh
the people to
love
dried your hands on
your apron
and welcomed them
with raspberry jam
stewed plums
and soup
called them to the
table for a game
of crib
smiled or cheered
like you
meant it
at excited
gasps of ‘yahtzee’

in molly’s orchard
there is room to grow
and space
for you and for
me
among the trees and
flowers
room with her to stand
in the shelter of the
Almighty

time for play
and laughter

time for tears

in molly’s orchard
there is room enough
to love

go hide yourself
I’ll come find you

in the sweet
fragrant space of your life
in the secret place
of God

© 2005 andrew kooman

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