I hope you’ll pardon my absence for the past couple of Fridays; 2020, the year that will go down in infamy, officially ended with the death of my mother, Virginia, on New Year’s Eve.
She had been in a nursing home for the past 5 years or so, but began seriously declining over the summer, when she was placed on hospice; at the time, none of us thought she would make it to the end of the year.
But in true Mom form, she wasn’t going to go until she was ready – and that meant hanging on until literally the beginning of the new year, just minutes after New Zealand and the folks on the other side of the world were greeting 2021 for the first time.
“I’ll show them,” she must have been thinking, as she peacefully and quietly slipped from her sleep, my father by her side.
It has been difficult saying goodbye these past few weeks, as I could only visit her in person twice, with full PPE gear on – but it’s been especially difficult for Dad, whose quarantined nursing home room now has an empty bed to remind him of what happened. But if there’s any good news in this – aside from the fact that she’s no longer in pain – it’s that she and Dad were able to spend an incredible amount of time together, holding hands, reminiscing, and reminding each other of their love.
Dad told me how hard it was to be there watching her slowly die each day, and I can’t imagine how hard that must have been, but I reminded him that it was a blessing in that so many of us regret we never had a chance to tell our loved ones what we should have told them; Mom and Dad had months to do that. I’m so grateful for everything they’ve done for me.
The Measure of a Love
……….for Forrest and Virginia
Love. How does one measure such a thing?
An inch is always exactly so long; likewise,
a liter always a liter. No more, no less. Circumference
of a circle, area of a rhombus – these things
we determine precisely with absolute specificity. No guessing,
no quandaries. Quadratic equations, memorized formulas
reassure us of certainty, definiteness. Everything
as it should be, ordered and cyclical. Yet, love…
How does one measure such a thing?
Hard enough to plot a point. How long the line radiates,
unfixed; mass, velocity, speed are subject to fluctuation. Never
straight, it twists and curls like a series of French curves
laid end-to-end, upside down and backwards, so that none
can claim an obvious theorem or divine proportion. Let this,
then, be the formulary: 2 hearts plus 61 years multiplied
by the grace of God, times infinite kind words and kisses, never
divided nor subtracted – always multiplied, multiplied,
multiplied. There is no taking away. This, after all, is love.
And how does one measure such a thing?
– © 2021 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved
Today, Sylvia Vardell is our Poetry Friday hostess, so head over to her blog, Poetry for Children, for the complete link roundup AND a long list of all the cool new poetry books coming out this year for young people!
I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!
You can create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!
Find out more about BOOKROO here!
Coming January 26, 2021! Pre-orders are available!
Coming March 2, 2021! Pre-orders are available!
I continue adding to my “Wit & Wordplay” videos ! These videos were created for parents and educators (along with their kids) to learn how to write poetry, appreciate it, and have fun with it. From alliteration and iambs to free verse and spine poetry, I’m pretty sure there’s something in these videos you’ll find surprising! You can view them all on my YouTube channel, and if you have young kids looking for something to keep busy with, I also have several downloadable activity sheets at my website.
Ordering personalized signed copies online? Oh, yes, you can!
You can purchase personalized signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018), and nearly ALL of the books or anthologies I’ve been part of!
Click any of the following covers to order!
Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)
Thank you to everyone for your support!
- NY Public Library’s “100 Best Book for Kids 2017” AND “Staff Pick!”
- KIRKUS Starred review!
- Kansas NEA Reading Circle Recommended Books!
- “Best Reads of 2017,” Unleashing Readers
- Finalist, 2019 New Hampshire Literary Awards
- Positive reviews from Horn Book, School Library Connection, School Library Connection, Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, and Shelf-Awareness!
- “Rollicking rhyme!” – Booklist
- “A wild romp!” – Parenting NH Magazine
- “Cute…intriguing…4 out of 5 stars” – Tulsa Book Review
- “Rhythmic…funny and informative” – Unleashing Readers
Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!
To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right! (I usually only post once or twice a week – usually Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day) . Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter , Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and SoundCloud!
23 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: “The Measure of a Love””
Oh Matt – how hard for you to have to say goodbye in this way at this time. I love that you found the silver lining and your tribute to both your mother and to your parents’ love is just beautiful. Hugs to you from the other side of the world.
Thanks so much, Sally!
What a beautiful tribute, Matt. Thank you for sharing such heartfelt and personal sentiments. Hugs to you – multiplied.
I appreciate that, Rose, thank you!
What a beautiful tribute to your mom. Your poem is so moving, poignant, heartfelt, and loving.
Thank you so much, Jama.
Oh, Matt. I am so sorry to hear of this heartache – and yet, so warmed to read of this love. It is a beautiful thing, and you have measured it to perfection.
Thank you for the kind words, Kathryn!
I am so sorry. It is always hard to lose those we love, and even more difficult during these days. Your poem is a beautiful tribute to your parents’ love. It must have blessed so many.
Thanks, Kay, I appreciate that.
Your poem is such a beautiful tribute to your mom, and the love between your parents. Please accept my deepest sympathy.
Thank you so very much, Jean.
Sorry for your loss, Matt. Even in “normal” times loss is lonely and so sad, but in the midst of this pandemic, grieving is even harder. My best to you and your family.
Thanks so much, Janice, for your kind words.
Sending you and yours light and love ‘multiplied’, Matt. Your poem is a beautiful tribute.
Thanks, Bridget, I appreciate that.
Oh, Matt, your post and poem brought me to tears. What beautiful math poetry you created. I’m sorry for your loss, but I’m grateful for your heart full of love and your mom’s peaceful passing.
Oh, Laura, thank you so much – I’m glad you liked the poem and I apprecaite your kind thoughts.
This is beautiful. I’m so sorry for the loss of your mom. Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com
Thank you, Ruth.
Pingback: Poetry Friday: Poetry & picture books – an interview with Linda Brennan – Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme
Matt, I missed Poetry Friday last week because we were in Virginia at the new house waiting for the bedroom furniture delivery and my granddaughter’s first birthday. So I am finally reading your tribute to love. It is such an endearing poem of two faithful lovers. I am amazed by the beautiful flow to your words as they unfolded to the end. My sincerest condolences I send to you and your family.
Thank you, Carol…it’s been a difficult end of the year, but I’m glad things are looking up now. My best to you!