To My Mother on Her Birthday

Photo: Under the Willow Tree 1Under the Willow Tree

Under the willow tree, her shade my calm,

I see so bent by storms her trunk, how far

The winds have twisted every limb, each scar

Where lightning struck; yet there’s a quiet psalm

Of gratitude that whispers in her leaves

Each time another rainfall comes to spend

Its quenching kindness on her and to send

New hope down deep—for anyone who grieves

Or wonders how to pass through life’s travail

Finds shelter in her shadow—knows the limbs

That seem to weep are only singing hymns,

Embracing in their gentle sway the frail.

                    So one fine sapling, tended with such care,

                    Becomes the home for all who shelter there.

And now her roots are deep, her branches wide

Enough to draw more birds to them to nest,

Assured, secure and loved, and full at rest,

No matter what the world is like outside—

Just as I am, beneath the willow’s arm

Of graceful comfort, grateful for her wise,

Kind lesson to look upward to the skies

For blessed rain, and sun to keep us warm,

For sweet reminders of the Gardener

Who made the willow grow, and gave her strength

To nurture others in her shade, at length,

Upon the graces planted there in her:

                    So one fine sapling, tended with such care,

                    Becomes the home for all who shelter there.

Photo: Under the Willow Tree 2Thank you, Mom, for the nurturing, the love, and the will to live as an example of bending but not breaking in the storms. Happy 80th Birthday!

12 thoughts on “To My Mother on Her Birthday

    • Thank you, dearest—I know she appreciated every long-distance bit of well wishing as much as the close at hand! It was a grand celebration, and I will have to share the story of it in brief here soon. 🙂 Hugs to you, too!!!


  1. What a beautiful tribute!
    This was such a moving prose. Made me get a bit misty eyed. .. My mother passed 8 years ago. I still miss her daily.

    • Thank you, John! I think she loved the whole thing as much as the rest of us did. And considering that during all of her back and hip surgeries (and all of the complications of her health during that time) not so long ago, we didn’t have huge confidence she’d *see* 80, this is a big bonus! Happiness and blessings to you and Zia and tutta la famiglia Bartolini, too. 😀

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