Sunday, May 4, 2008

Mother's Day Poems

For many years, I wrote a poem for my mom every Mother's Day. A lot of them wound up in a little work-for-hire gift book I put together for Barbour Publishing. I was supposed to be mostly compiling quotes, so I figured I might as well quote myself. Mom was drifting into the haze of Alzheimer's, but she still was proud of what she felt was "her" book.

My friend, Anita Donihue, recently asked for a copy of one poem, as she had misplaced it. She discovered several years ago, that the poem could be sung to the tune of "Jesus Loves Me," and uses it annually with her Sunday School class at Algona-Pacific Church of God in Washington. So I get my annual dose of "fifteen minute of fame." Actually, most of my Mother's Day poems have been read at least once in one church or another, and several have been published as well. Since I still hold the copyrights, I decided to share a few. Feel welcome to pass them on.

This is the one Anita wanted. She added as a chorus, "Yes, we love Mom (3 times) and Jesus loves her too."


Wife, companion, sweetheart, friend,
One on whom we all depend,
Chauffeur, laundress, cook and baker,
Casserole and cookie maker,
Seamstress, skilled in many arts,
Mending clothes and broken hearts,
Girl Scout leader, Sunday School teacher,
Confidante, advisor, preacher,
Bargain hunter, tutor, nurse,
Keeper of the family purse,
Neighbor, cousin, daughter, niece,
Making beds and making peace,
Always smiling, always giving,
What a busy life they're living,
Feeding children, dogs and cats,
How do they wear so many hats?

Janice Lewis Clark May, 2000

Actually, I think this one is my favorite.

Life: With Safety Net

Life is an ocean the sailor must cross
In a boat with threadbare sails:
Riding the billows from trough to crest,
Braving the fearsome gales.
And the waves roll up, and the waves roll down,
And the breakers roar and foam,
But the beacon light of a mother’s love
Will guide the sailor home.

Life is a journey to faraway lands,
On a road fraught with perils and care,
Where many a beckoning dead-end trail
Awaits, the unwary to snare.
And the road climbs up, and the road slides down,
Over rocks and through valleys gray,
But my mother set me upon the path
With a map to guide my way.

Life is an acrobat’s balancing act
On a narrow, raveling rope,
In a gusty wind, with slippery shoes,
And a tattered net for hope.
And the rope sways left, and the rope sways right,
And the watchers hoot and call,
But my mother’s waiting with open arms
To catch me if I fall.

Though the sea is wide, and the road is long,
And the dancing tightrope sways,
Still I carry inside my mother’s song,
That will last me all my days.

Janice Lewis Clark, 2001

This is my most requested, and a favorite for baby showers:


Smiles and dimples, sweet delights;
Diapers, teething, sleepless nights.

Creeping, crawling, growing strong;
Into everything ere long.

Toddling, tripping down the halls;
Crayon murals on the walls.

“Mama”, “Papa”, happy laughter;
“No”, “I hate you” follows after.

Bedtime stories, magic rings;
Skinned-up knees from slides and swings.

Halfway grown and off to school;
Teacher’s smart but Mom’s a fool.

Race through lessons, out the doors;
Messy room and half-done chores.

Plans and day-dreams, fits and starts;
Broken bones and broken hearts.

Hitch your wagon to a star;
Need new clothes, some cash, the car.

Graduation, running wild;
All grown up but still a child.

Taste a bit of life and then,
Funny thing, Mom’s smart again.

It’s a calling like no other;
What a joy to be a mother!

Janice Lewis Clark 1996

One more for now, another popular one:

Laundry Musings

Little boys' pockets, full of odd things:
Bubble gum wrappers and butterfly wings
Nails, screws, and washers, a Crackerjack ring,
Pencils and pebbles and pieces of string.

The whole world is changing, each day something new
Cell phones and faxes and microwave stew,
Video movies and games on the set;
Grandma sends e-mail and cruises the net.

Satellites orbit, the shuttle's routine.
Holograms shimmer from each magazine.
Lasers for surgery, robot-built cars,
Telecommuting and photos from mars.

Washers and dryers grow more automatic;
Glass fiber lines give us phones with less static.
Life is confusing, amusing but strange.
Isn't it grand that some things never change.

Little boys' pockets, full of odd things:
Bubble gum wrappers and butterfly wings
Nails, screws, and washers, a Crackerjack ring,
Pencils and pebbles and pieces of string.

Janice Lewis Clark 1998

Enough for now. It's time to tend to other chores. I finally finished my latest review for The Fix, an anthology called The Return of the Sword. I also finished tweaking the manuscript for The Door in the Sky, which is the sequel to The Mountains of the Moon for the Hall of Doors series. Now I need to write a couple of critiques for Critters and then get back to book three for the series. Maybe I'll steal a few moments to get out and enjoy the rare sunshine.

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