Pat Hardigree

April 2, 2008 at 1:17 pm (Uncategorized) ()

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Beneath The Rhodododendrons

Beneath the rhododendrons
Overlooking Howth Head’s Bay
We shared our love beneath the flowers
And my head upon your bosom lay.
I drank the milk from between your kisses
And I gave you all my love
As we lay among the grasses
And rhododendrons bloomed above.

Mama’s Kitchen

I remember the clock striking four
grandfather shuffling down the hall.
We hear the clatter of milk pails—
run into the kitchen where
grandfather pours milk
into jugs for churning.

Mama smiles at us from the stove
fixes our breakfast placing a fig
crystallized with sugar
on our plates.

It’s a rainy day.
We get off the school bus.
The house is warm
with soup and teacakes
the milk tall and cold
cornbread melts into our bowls.

We sit on the porch at night
listen to stories
of Indians peering in
through cabin windows
and Luther and Mama’s Pa
how he had been killed for his horse
and his wife worked like a man
pouring herself into her grave.

Mama was said to be part Indian.
There’s a picture of an Indian woman
outside an old house
but no one knows her name.

When I make biscuits
I use buttermilk like Mama
and make a well in the flour
Like she showed me how to do.

Go Down Fighting

When my son was ten, small and blond,
some bullies picked an argument.
Pow! Pow! Went my little guy.
His newfound friends went another way.

When I was ten I was taunted.
I would not fight at all.
I left quietly as I came.
Far away I heard bagpipes play.

My brother might have taught me
those who like to bully
avoid those that bully back.

I learned from my mother
that we are mostly Irish.
She herself would not fight

but meekly forbore.
Her life, so quiet, ended
in great endurance.

I married a hybrid Irish.
He taught me to fight,
kick, and punch with words.
I remember him for that

though I don’t often look back
at what might or could have been
I taught my next of kin
to go down fighting.

As though it were your life-
Your very life.

Pat Hardigree is the Newsletter editor and webmaster for Delaware Valley Poets, Inc. Pat’s work has appeared in Paterson Literary Review, Lips, US One, Kelsey Review, Edison Literary Review, and various small presses. She was a 2001 Pushcart nominee in poetry, and her poem, “Papa’s Name” was an Editors’ Choice in the 2004 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards.

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