Happy Mother’s Day

Did you know…

that the correct spelling of Mother’s Day was decreed by the founder of the holiday? It is so.

Anna Jarvis, in a celebration of her deceased mother’s life, wanted the name to honor
each individual mother within her own family, thus the singular possessive  (Mother’s Day) was so declared.

The first Mother’s Day to be celebrated in the United States was held by Anna in her hometown of Grafton, WV at the St. Andrew’s Methodist Church, in 1908. Her efforts to establish such a holiday began in 1905.  West Virginia was the first state to make it a state holiday (1910).  By 1911, all US states were celebrating the day and in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson made it official with a proclamation naming the second Sunday in May as the official day for Mothers.

Sounds like a happy ending?  Well, with humans involved there is always room for a glitch (glitches). Sure enough, the holiday soon became commercialized, which was a point of contention for Anna. She organized boycotts against companies that were guilty of exploiting the holiday.  In 1925, she disrupted a meeting of an organization that was
selling Mother’s Day carnations as a fundraiser. She was arrested for disturbing the peace. The charges were later dropped, but the damage had been done.

In 1934, the U.S. Postal Service issued a Mother’s Day commemorative stamp. The portrait on the stamp was Whistler’s Mother.

Anna Jarvis spent every cent she had fighting law suits relating to the holiday.  At the age of 80,  penniless and bitter, she was placed in a mental institution where she died 4 years later.  She never had children.

Today, in these strangest of times, as we celebrate our mothers and our children celebrate us, let’s take a moment to pay homage to Anna Jarvis, who devoted her entire adult life to making sure that mothers are celebrated.

(and for you fathers who “need to know”,  the first Father’s Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910, but it wasn’t for another sixty years that it became a national holiday… stay tuned,  I’ll post that story on June 21 st)



Night Rolls in like the Tide

Night rolls in like the tide.
Mist laden and certain
it reigns over the land.
Vagrant  moonbeams make surf
on fields freshly greened.

A distant whistle caught in the fog
swirls like old memories
of mornings spent in the rain.
Saturated, the lawn has grown wild
with tall grass

but that’s just the train whistle talking.
The crickets are singing.
I pull my sweater tighter around me
uncertain if I’m resisting a yearning
to fly or to swim in search of Atlantis.

On the Breath of the Wind

If only the music were always so pure
and the wind whispered its melody,
If the moon were always so full,
it would still be love
that brings earth to bloom.

Heartbeats and helpmates,
fathers and sons, mothers
and lovers, daughters so fair,
the rhythm’s agape
and that’s as it should be,

I’d write it all down if only
I could. If only the music were always
so pure and the moon always so full,
All of the nations, all over the world,
would stand hand in hand.

No matter the sickness or the foibles
of man, what hate tears asunder
love rebuilds again. The pieces all scattered
will gather once more. Such is the song
on the breath of the wind.

Amore, sweet amore.

Notte di Luna Piena (Full Moon Night)

Such is the soul that mortal eye
cannot see.  A word heard
but not understood, familiar
from dreams, this symphony.

Por ti volare.
Because you give me wings,
I soar. Song of the land, night winds
are whispering.

Con ti partiro, for as long
as the moon is full.  What’s in a song?
What magic makes wise men
such fools?

Such is the soul that mortal eyes
cannot see, Such is the reason
we dance in the rain.
Canta ora per me.


A full moon and a Bocelli concert are a dangerous
combination.  If you have heard his album “Si”
you will recognize several of his titles sprinkled
through this Full Moon Night.

Por ti volare….for you I will fly
Con ti partiro..I’ll leave with you
Canta ora per me…sing now to me.

Family Trees

From one side of the family home,
the skyline is ripe with orchards’
new green. Apple blossoms scent
the wind. There is a certain calm.

It is May and the hills are alive
with the sound of birdsong.
The sun shines warmly
on that side of the family home.

Do a half turn and the trees
have ceded to highways. Cars, semis,
buses, all hurrying somewhere…
no note taken in passing.
A matter of happenstance,

Almost coincidence,
that they are there
at the same time.
Any interaction
would be a catastrophe.

Sort of like the disaster
of a communal dinner.

Goals and Destinations

Born to salt and froth,
the sea calls in raindrops
covered with dust and diligence.

The clouds are white-capped
waves; that persistent wren
is a distant buoy, a reminder,

Not yet a warning,
that things can change,
will change, and the sea

Unending will be there,
if you keep your eye on the sky
and remember the way.