When A Good Mother Sails From This World


Mending the Sails by Joaquín Sorolla y BastidaAlthough Mothers Day here in the UK bas been and gone, my mother, as always, is ever present in my mind.  

This year for the first time I was able visit her grave with my daughter and feel that I had at last come to terms with her death, felt that just like the libretto below, that I too had managed to weave together the threads of  her light into a  beautiful set of sails.  This beautiful boat with its magnificent rigging is majestically riding the waves and atop is the beautiful red flag of my mother. 

when I read this piece it took my breath away, it spoke to me in so many ways and confirmed  just what I have been feeling.  My mother will always be with me, wherever I travel, her spirit and love lives deep within my soul.  

WHEN A GOOD MOTHER SAILS FROM THIS WORLD

The following piece is actually an excerpt from women.life.song a libretto written by Dr Clarissa Pinkola Estes, commissioned and performed by Jessaye Norman in 2000 at Carnegie Hall.  

When I say, ‘My mother has died’,
I mean my ‘most beloved’.
Leave me to myself now,
for I am a ship who’s
lost her riggings;
suddenly
come unmoored.

My mother has died;
She has earned her rest now,
waiting only, and proudly so,
for her sails
to be taken down.

I, the daughter,
see to the mending of my mother’s sails;
I seek her
worn and broken
threads of light,
reweaving her dazzling linen.

And though there be broken threads
not able to be rewoven,
I will gently pull the edges together
and stitch one side to the other…
and if not able to be mended,
then I will patch with parts
from my own most earnest life
over the places where my mother’s life
was worn through,
. . . or never was.

Over time, the sails of the mothership
will be fitted to the daughtership;
raised up on the mainsail,
and the final touch –
the red ragged flag – hers –
will be flying topmast of my ship.

I’ll be let down into the waters then,
I, the daughter, will glide again…
but this time, under the best sails
inherited from my mother…
and all the mothers of the motherlines
before her.

Ay, Mother, let me tell you
my treasured dearie-dear,
one last thing I have learned
from your spirit passing through me
as sparkling shadow passes
through darkening shadow,
on this open night-sea journey…

I am learning to navigate
by the mysteries of the farthest stars –
the ones that the great wake of your passing
has revealed to me
for the very first time.



 

Dr Clarissa Pinkola Estes

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