Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A poem in honor of mothers

I write poetry fairly often. I have no idea if anyone else would think it's good but I don't really care much. I mostly write it for myself as a means of catharsis. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. It's usually quite personal and I'm not comfortable sharing it with the world.

But a few days ago I had lunch with my friend Tom. Tom's mother recently passed away and I decided to write a poem about mothers. This is not specifically about me or my own mother (who I think is a great mom). It's about mothers in general. I am posting this in honor of Tom who I think is a generally inspirational guy. And, of course, in honor of my own mother. If I didn't think she was great, this poem would have come out very differently or not at all.

Incidentally, you can read Tom's eulogy for his mother on his blog. I have thankfully never had to think about how I would eulogize anyone. But I find this eulogy so powerful in its simplicity. And I can imagine Tom delivering it with magnificent pathos.

Mother's Footsteps (6-28-08)

The craters were massive to my young eyes
Each held my whole world
And I glided above
In the hands of love
Untouched by the dangers below.

In time my eyes grew older
My feet hit the floor
And with affected resentment
I filled in those craters
With ersatz omniscience.

Years passed and I forgot
That I knew what I didn't know
My massive feet stamped holes
In the unforgiving soil
But they always seemed smaller
Than the craters of my youth.

And now between dusk and dawn
I see those craters stretching
For miles ahead
And hope I can fill them
As once I was taught.


Tom McMillian said...

Adam, Thank you for the wonderful poem. Every time I read it, old memories of my Mom surface and I smile.

Thanks, Tom

Jer979 said...

Tom's eulogy was lovely and heartfelt.

As for you, keep writing and publishing your poetry. The blog is about you, in your entirety (scary as that may be), so just go for it!

Adam said...


Tom is a good due and works in your industry. You guys should connect.

As for your point: This is not easy. And there's an interesting social theory question it raises.

Yes, the blog is about me. But I do have to be careful about what I write because the audience is unlimited. For example, my children can read this. And whatever I post will last forever. I cannot abdicate my responsibility to serve as a good example for my kids. So this is one filter I have to put between my thoughts and my postings. People from work can also read this. I work for a large corporation that would probably not want to see certain thoughts spilling out of my head (not that I would ever have any of those!). I have friends and family who might read this...

So here is the interesting issue. We all have multiple personae. We belong to different groups and we act accordingly. Family, different friendship circles, religious groups, work, professional associations... In the past, we were largely able to keep our various social domains distinct, and, therefore, we could always take on the appropriate persona targeted to the social situation we faced at any moment. Sure, from time to time you bumped into a co-worker when you were grocery shopping with the kids, but by and large our spheres did not overlap.

In the online world, these spheres do overlap. Everyone can read my blog. So which persona do I adapt? Not easy. It's easy to drop to the lowest common denominator. Say nothing that will offend anybody. That pretty much leaves me to comment on the weather. Oops! That will send the environmentalist folks into a tizzy about global warming...

I don't think lowest common denominator is the right approach. Instead, I think those who blog like this somehow forge a new persona.

Anyway, enough for now. But I'd love to hear some thoughts on this. It's an interesting issue.

Jer979 said...

fair point and ironic, since I'm working on a post on this very subject. It came from a conversation I had with a client who was concerned that if he made his political views more publicly known, it would affect sales of his product.

It's definitely a brave new world, this social web thing. Stay tuned.