As a child, I looked to my mother for safety. She didn't have the power to meet that need; I grew up in a home that was often brutal. Years later, as an adult, I read David Ignatow's description of his mother dying and how his heart transferred his need to the earth. I was astounded when I read the last line, "and I am safe and always have been." He was not talking about the kind of safety I didn't have as a child, and often don't have as a man today, but a more profound safety that I feel comes from the Mother who holds all the moments of my life in a mysterious and loving way. I strive to be more like Her each day. Here's the end of Ignatow's poem, Kaddish (which is the Jewish prayer for the dead), where he is talking to his mother on her death bed:
Earth now is your mother, as you were mine, my earth,
my sustenance and my strength,
and now without you I turn to your mother
and seek from her that I may meet you again
in rock and stone. Whisper to the stone,
I love you. Whisper to the rock, I found you.
Whisper to the earth, Mother, I have found her,
and I am safe and always have been.
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