To Mother - Poem by Max Reif
In this morning's dream, you lived
in an elegant, old high-rise
atop a steep, rugged hill
whose sides had been built up
along a winding, narrow road
with ancient walls and terraces
running down to a great precipice
and a panoramic view of the city—
a city like St. Louis, but greater,
with the green Cathedral dome,
lots of red-roofed, public buildings
and thousands of colorful homes.
In the sky there, your condo adjoined
a little boutique that you ran.
In my earliest memories
you’re only a voice from the kitchen
and sounds of pots and pans
rattling as I watched TV.
Certain years, the voltage of your nerves
charged every room in our house
and your outstretched palm
would strike like a quick
snake against my cheek.
How did you make the journey
up from those desolate flatlands?
You first ventured out of the house
to an art librarian’s job at the University.
I went with you Saturday mornings in spring
as the dogwood trees blossomed on campus
and you showed me how to tell
a Renoir from a Monet.
Out of domestic imprisonment
you found your way year by year,
mentored by a wise crone
until you came to fill her shoes,
head librarian, grande dame
of the busy Clayton Branch.
Still, I was surprised to find you
up there, in my dream,
at the Center of Things.
You do still worry too much!
If you can't reach me on a Sunday
you imagine terrible things.
But you’ve come all that way
up that dream hill.
Now that you’re retired,
you’ve still got luncheons to host,
dessert spoons to creatively arrange.
You’ve still got your flair for design,
your exercise class and bridge,
faithful relatives and friends.
I like to visit up there.
I enjoy the view on your hill.
I’d hope to have my own hill
and be able to see so far.
Poet's Notes about The Poem
Comments about To Mother by Max Reif
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Still I Rise
The Road Not Taken
If You Forget Me
Edgar Allan Poe
Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
Mary Elizabeth Frye
I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You