Cove Neck, New York, May 1918
Edith Roosevelt received
the German postcard on Mother’s Day.
It was a photo of her youngest son Quentin.
His mangled body on some field in France
beside his shot-down aeroplane.
His handsome face mutilated twice
from machine gun bullets.
The enemy addressed it directly to her,
to break her, break her. It did not.
Instead, she framed it above the mantle
at the entrance to their home Sagamore Hill.
Everyone who entered, including her husband Theodore,
had to gaze at the gruesome propaganda.
How many mothers
a photo of a son up high
he had been fatally mangled
by brutal bullets
while desperately flying for victory against
or substance abuse self-destruction
or attacks on his heart
in an existence
that gives no quarter, relentless
gravity, contracting space, that offers no second chances?
For Betty Jones—born October 3, 1936 died May 3rd, 2021
CW, this is a very brave poem, and where such events would break many people, there are mothers especially who take these as a spur to strengthen them and to provide public service. heartbreaking.
To be a parent you have to be brave. Thanks for the comment Bhi.
I am with Bhi on this: Brave it is! That said it is inspirational too. I especially like ‘that offers no second chances?’ The action of displaying that image was not only ‘propaganda’ as it is stated, but an extraordinary display of love. In my imagination I keep seeing all these terrible images of the weak, poor, defenceless souls around the World who are experiencing death deprived of the salve that oxygen and drugs can offer. We all – Mother’s, Fathers, and the offspring of – MUST start acting to bring about change on this greedy, uncaring planet, where we… Read more »
Thanks Allen. Yes, incredible suffering is going on in India. Like some countries i believe they thought it would pass them by.
The nightmare all parents dread. The nightmare my parents dreaded for me and my brother. Luckily for them it never came, but for so many it did, whether war, drugs, racial bigotry, accidents or disease.
The loss of a child hurts no matter the reason. We should all be proud of our offspring they are us.
How true, Guaj. Children putting themselves in harm’s way is what a parent signs up for.
I think of Thetis, with Achilles shield; and what a woman! Turning an act of sadistic cruelty into a proud stand; and yes, also of love; a most apt work CW.
Thanks Dodgem, you summed up what i was trying to get across very nicely.
Thanks; and I’m still amazed at that story; so thank you CW, for bringing it to life.
At last, I found a poem on Mother’s day!!! With a very light mood, I clicked on it, what I found made me numb. Nothing to say. Thank you for posting it. Respects to Betty Jones.
Thanks for the comment, Supratik.