I remember the moment a package was brought
and the words the delivery man said.
Though he carried the treasure I’d eagerly sought,
his advice went way over my head.
“Sorry lady,” he said, “but I’m only consigned
to deliver it into your care.
Now it’s fit for the purpose for which it’s designed
and, with maintenance, won’t need repair.”
“But as for the way it will work, don’t ask me,
for that isn’t my job to explain.
You received what you ordered, but no guarantee
that it won’t give you cause to complain.”
So of course I accepted the package “as is”
for I wouldn’t have thought to do other,
not knowing that only experience gives
true claim to the title of Mother.
I would wager no woman who’s ever been blessed
with a heart full of love for a child
was completely prepared for the ultimate test
of going beyond the last mile.
But I also suspect almost anyone could
successfully hurdle obstructions
and rise to the challenge of good parenthood . . .
if children just came with instructions.
Mary Boren, 1996
When darkness falls, we snuggle tight
and listen to the rooftop song,
as if our stillness might prolong
the aura of a rainy night.
It rises to its fullest height
and serenades a sleeping throng
when darkness falls. We snuggle tight
and listen to the rooftop song.
With peace abundant, struggles slight,
endowed contentment reigns; no wrong
can penetrate. Our love is strong
because, in slowly fading light,
when darkness falls, we snuggle tight.
Mary Boren, 2011
On this, a wet November morning made
for extra mattress time with skin-on-skin,
a-cuddle in the alcove where I laid
my graying head last night, the girl within
is fully reawakened. Down the glass
roll glimpses of the gauzy realm where wrong
cannot exist. In whispers, angels pass.
My heart rejoins the universal song
to feed the well from which all blessings flow.
Staccato raindrops on the metal roof
crescendo, fade to pianissimo —
a symphony for two, sufficient proof
that heaven is at hand. It’s ten to nine,
and Ever-After-Happily is mine.
Mary Boren, 2004
In midst of my apology
you smiled and reached a hand to me
and said, “I love you just the way you are.”
That unexpected, simple gift
to give my heart a needed lift
was warm as toast (and fuzzier by far).
So now I want to turn around
and give the world the joy I’ve found
in loving me as well as them and you.
It doesn’t cost a penny more
to factor kindness in the score
and give the benefit of doubt when due.
No punishment can more constrict
a soul than what we self-inflict.
I’ve yet to meet a person without flaws.
A gaffe’s an opportunity
to learn, and then it’s history.
Forgive and love oneself because, because.
I’m what I am — no more, no less;
sometimes a saint, sometimes a mess —
like every rider on this carousel.
If anyone takes pleasure from
accepting me the way you come,
I’ll take the gift … and wish the others well.
Mary Boren, 1997
When I was an embryo, wrinkled and wet,
God knew I would need all the help I could get.
In His infinite wisdom, He knew you would be
the world’s only mother who’d put up with me.
As you proudly bedecked me in ruffles and curls,
I took it for granted that all little girls
had a mother as tender and loving as you
and that someday I’d grow up to be like that too.
If I’d paid more attention when you spoke the truth
I might have been spared the mistakes of my youth,
but I lived through the foolish decisions I made
by having a mother who trusted and prayed.
There are many enigmas I’ve wondered about,
but one thing I’ve never had reason to doubt:
Whether I ever found fortune or fame,
I knew that my Mama would love me the same.
At times when my strength has been put to the test,
I’ve wished for your patience, so simply expressed
in my own little girl’s declaration of fact:
“When I smile at Grandma, she always smiles back!”
But now that I’m older, I’ve grown more reflective,
viewing the world through a softer perspective;
peaceful in having my heart reconciled
with the values you taught me when I was a child.
I know there are heights I can never attain,
but one aspiration will always remain:
As I seek to interpret my role in life’s drama,
I still want to grow up to be like my Mama.
Reminders of you give me cause to rejoice —
you’re my mother by birth and my best friend by choice.
If my heart’s deepest longing should ever come true,
my children will love me the way I love you.
Mary Boren, 1991
View discussion on this poem.
Maybe if I had a billion dollars
I could oversee a massive mission,
blitzing through the backwoods, hills, and hollers,
rounding up the poor folks. Good nutrition,
clothing, shelter, basic education,
birth control and medical attention
ought to be enough to bring a nation
out of moral downslide, not to mention
perk up productivity. However,
what if there was no such thing as money?
How would altruism flourish? Never
underestimate two hands. It’s funny
seeing focus shifting when the labor
asked of me is simply love my neighbor.
Mary Boren, 2005
Wearing only his happy-dog face,
running circles all over the place,
he was off like a shot
when he busted the knot
on his leash. … Now a creature flits by
with a flutter that catches his eye,
so he skips over me
with exuberant glee
to engage in a butterfly chase.
But I feign an expression that’s stern
and I pounce coming into a turn
with the fugitive pup,
quickly scooping him up
in my arms, a fortuitous catch.
As I give him a vigorous scratch
on his freckledy pink
little belly, I think
that we both have some lessons to learn.
Later on, I examine my lap
where the cherubim gently enwrap
him in innocent glow
from his ear to his toe
and I pray: “Help me teach him to heel
for his safety, but don’t let me steal
an iota of joy
from this baby-like boy
drifting into his afternoon nap.”
Mary Boren, 2006
It isn’t on the map; it can’t be found
with compass, reached on foot, by plane or car.
It isn’t ruled by force; it isn’t bound
by walls. The vision opens where you are.
Irenica, the unpolluted land
beyond the dream is calling day and night,
“Come home, beloved child. The distance spanned
is Nothing. I’m within you — seek The Light.”
Her beacon gently whispers of a choice
to live where neither greed nor fears hold sway
as love unmasks confusion, stills the voice
of hatred. Sisters, brothers, it’s The Way.
A consciousness surpassing one alone
exists beyond the realm of flesh and bone.
Mary Boren, 2007
God bless your boundless energy; your moves;
the grooves you hollow in my heart; the way
you say the most outrageous thing, and then
you grin, as if the unrepentant word
occurred unplanned. Half renegade, half fawn;
no pawn for the invasive round of knocks
that locks a less progressive man into
inhuman bitterness, you choose instead
unfettered paths of joy, forgiveness, grace.
In facing raw intractability,
I see you calmly staring down its fear
in spirit form, untangled from a mind
defined by circumstance. As love endures,
your gifts are mine to harvest; mine are yours.
Mary Boren, 2004
In the aftermath of an upheaval
such as not seen before in my life,
I was thinking, “No no, don’t believe I’ll
ever want to be anyone’s wife.
There’s a lot to be said for the freedom
of abiding in solitude’s glow,
and commitments (for any who need ’em)
are as fleeting as tracks in the snow. ”
As the sages have said, “Send the heavens
into spasms of riotous mirth
by announcing your plans.” Laughter leavens
self-delusion like nothing on earth.
He appeared on a soft summer flurry
like a popsicle placed in my paw
by an angel alerting me, “Hurry!
Better lick it before it can thaw.”
Now the miracle he is creating
as my witness, my mirror, my guide
is unceasingly regenerating
in the heart of this fortunate bride.
Mary Boren, 2007