MOMents (on Billy Collins and MOMdays)

So my posts have tended to focus more and more on motherhood. That wasn’t intentional, believe me. But. What else can I write about when my life centers around MOMhood MOMents? Thus, inspiration struck again when I read Billy Collins’ poem The Moment. Just in case you haven’t read it, here it is:

The Moment

It was a day in June, all lawn and sky,
the kind that gives you no choice
but to unbutton your shirt
and sit outside in a rough wooden chair.

And if a glass of ice tea and an anthology
of seventeenth-century devotional poetry
with a dark blue cover are available,
then the picture can hardly be improved.

I remember a fly kept landing on my wrist,
and two black butterflies
with white and red wing-dots
bobbed around my head in the bright air.

I could feel the day offering itself to me,
and I wanted nothing more
than to be in the moment–but which moment?
Not that one, or that one, or that one,

or any of those that were scuttling by
seemed perfectly right for me.
Plus, I was too knotted up with questions
about the past and his tall, evasive sister, the future.

What churchyard held the bones of George Herbert?
Why did John Donne’s wife die so young?
And more pressingly,
what could we serve the vegetarian twins

we had invited for dinner that evening
not knowing then that they travel with their own grapes?
And who was the driver of that pickup
flying down the road toward the single railroad track?

And so the priceless moments of the day
were squandered one by one–
or more likely several thousand at a time–
with quandary and pointless interrogation.

All I wanted was to be a pea of being
at rest inside the pod of time,
but that was not going to happen today,
I had to admit to myself

as I closed the blue book on the face
of Thomas Traherne and returned to the house
where I lit a flame under a pot
full of water where some eggs were afloat,

and, while they were cooking,
stared into a little oval mirror by the sink
just to see if that crazy glass
had anything particular to say to me today.

Reading it this morning I realized that …

life is made up of moments
big and small,
some painful,
most ordinary
but for the joy
of  exhaling time well spent. 

But Collins’ poem does more than evoke memories of “priceless moments of the day  … squandered one by one” that would have been forgotten had they not been captured by my smartphone.

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I can so easily relate to Collins’ “I could feel the day offering itself to me, and I wanted nothing more than to be in the moment …” whenever I take my seat in our dining table each morning – alone save for the chirping of our pet parakeets in the garden.

Collins’ question “And more pressingly, what could we serve the vegetarian twins we had invited for dinner?”  reflect most mothers’ anxieties about what meals to serve picky eaters,  always-hungry children, and other dinner companions.

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Well … I’ve no glass of iced tea … but I sure love to drink tea in my Arabian-themed cup and saucer
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Nor do I have an anthology of seventeenth-century devotional poetry with a dark blue cover … but I pilfered my late father’s anthology of poetry and store it in a plastic pack 🙂 It’s what I read whenever Momhood gets to be too much – nothing like quaint English to restore the senses, eh? As Collins says, “then the picture can hardly be improved.”

And what mother will fail to identify with Collins’ lines “All I wanted was to be a pea of being / at rest inside the pod of time, / but that was not going to happen today, / I had to admit to myself?

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My daughter wrote this on the pan while cooking pancake for breakfast. Let’s face it, even though we moms feel like All I wanted was to be a pea of being / at rest inside the pod of time,love is what makes us get off the bed while still sleepy and start the day.

Most bizarre of all, I even have a “little … mirror by the sinkinto which I starejust to see if that crazy glass ha(s) anything particular to say to me today.” 

So yeah, I like Billy Collins’ poem very much though I daresay he did not have mothers in mind while composing it. Meanwhile, here are the MOMhood MOMents, “any of those that were scuttling by (which) seemed perfectly right to me.”  

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It never fails to amaze me … I can be the last person to go to bed with no dirty dishes/cups/glasses/pots to wash but when I wake up, I’m always greeted by several dirty glasses. Did we have thirsty visitors in the night????
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For someone who seldom ventures far from home, this photo reminded me that, yeah, the hubby and I had a weekend getaway at the Intercon in Dubai. Having stayed there five years ago, I looked forward to their Japanese buffet and was not disappointed.

 

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Never thought that my brother would ask me questions about soaking vegetables. He did and I showed him this Savoy lettuce in our sink – because I was cooking fried noodles the evening he asked.
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If there’s one plant that should be associated with motherhood, it’s this: Euphorbia mili otherwise known as the Crown of Thorns or Christ Plant … because, really,  isn’t a daily dying to oneself a crown of thorns?

Meanwhile …

In a few days, the Louvre Abu Dhabi will be opened to the public. Many people will go just for the experience of being inside a museum. Hopefully, they will appreciate the works on display, 300 of which are on loan from France. The Louvre, however, is not the only noteworthy museum in the UAE. The Sharjah Art Museum, while located in a part of town that is not conducive to parking, contains fabulous works by Middle Eastern artists. There is one particular piece that I really, really liked by a Yemeni painter:

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Here is the complete painting:

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It may not qualify as a MOMhood MOMent but …. surely looking at a great work of art up close and personal is a blissful twinkle of time, eh? 🙂  Would Billy Collins have liked it? I don’t know but since he admits to getting too knotted up with questions about the past, and his tall, evasive sister, the futurewho knows?

 

 

 

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