The Maiden Aunt

madien aunt

Though you don’t understand the words

you can hear a woman grieve

in her Swedish tongue, a dulcimer

laid across her lap, and her apron white

 

as the limestone house

standing behind , as the first streak

in her dark hair falling

among dry leaves the wind

has heaped on a hill.

 

The cold season is coming

and you can feel a sister grieve

in the way she plucks the strings

looking toward the river, knowing its birds

still have next year & other seasons left

to pluck reeds for their wild nest.

 

 

3 comments

  1. Though the words cannot be understood,
    one knows the sounds of grieving when one hears them.
    And recognizes sadness, in the way the instrument is played.

    The cold season is coming,
    made me think of the actual season, but also
    an emotional season of loss, facing cold hard facts
    and having to live with them.

    Much enjoyed.
    take care,
    Kerri

    Like

  2. “the way she plucks the strings

    looking toward the river, knowing its birds

    still have next year ”

    Wendy,

    There is such grace in this grief that you write.
    I think I have never known another person with the
    capacity for empathy that you have. Thank you for
    sharing your gift here.

    Sarah

    Like

  3. Dear Kerri

    Thank you so much for sharing your keen impressions of this poem! I deeply appreciate them! I heard a Swedish folk singer sing a song called Blackbird in Winter in Swedish. I didn’t understand the words but I could feel how she intonated her sorrow and I thought of the woman who was alone, who had served her family and their children sacrificing her own chances for love and children. What was often termed in Victorian and early 20th century times as “the maiden aunt”. Anyway I am so glad you enjoyed this!

    Hi Sarah

    Your kind words touch deeply and brighten my morning! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and contemplate this poem. I am very moved by your comments!

    Take care,
    my best to you both,
    Wendy

    Like

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