Sunday, December 25, 2011

An Unexpected Gift

My mom is my best friend. We share nearly everything: laughs, smiles, stories, ups and downs. She is a wise woman and I owe my identity to her.

These things have always been well known to me, but it didn't dawn on me until today just  how similar we truly are...

One thing I've always kept private is my passion for poetry. She knows I loved writing as a kid, but over the years I've struggled to maintain my voice. Chalk it up to focusing on work, being distracted by fun, and fear of putting myself out there.

Today on Christmas, I decided to reveal that unknown side of myself to my parents. I showed them some of my work as well as this very blog.

My mom listened intently, teared up with pride, and showered me with compliments. I was expecting that. :) But what she did next was a total surprise.  She got up and went to a kitchen drawer. She pulled out a private journal...and to my utter disbelief.... she read me HER poetry.

Beautiful, rhythmic, hidden lines I never even knew existed. Handwritten in a floral journal, marked up and dog eared from re-reads and revisions. All these years I have been struggling to nail down my style in a vacuum, scared to share it with anyone. And while I felt alone with my inspiration, the answer to my struggles was in front of me all along: in my loving mom, in my very own genes, in my family history. Ironically, it was intimate for the both of us and we been sharing in the same experience unknowingly for many years.

For those of you who understand Spanish, here is a special treat - Elvira Abate's first ever written poem with my translation below. I hope you are as inspired to follow your dreams as I am, and equally as  inspired to share those pursuits with your family. Family is really where the heart is.

Merry Christmas from the Abate Family.

Mi Tristeza 

 De esta vida
Al fin he podido rescatar
a mi alma dormida que
no queria despertar.

Despues de su letargo
ha podido comprobar que
tambien las amapolas
se cansan de esperar.

Que los perros lloran
cuando estan dormidos
y le duele el hambre
que tienen muchos ninos.

Me ha dicho que las
tumbas necesitan flores
?o a caso no vivieron  con lagrimas y amores?
o a caso no se fueron con lagrimas y honores.

De unas ella escucha
clamores de perdon
de seres que perdieron
su vida en el error.

De otros que vinieron
en total indiferencia
ahora es el silencio
su mas cruel penitencia.

---- Translation (which of course loses the rhythm and flow)----

My Sadness 

From my soul
finally I can rescue
my sleeping soul
that didn't want to wake.

After the lethargy
I finally realize
that even the poppies
get tired of waiting.

I now see that dogs cry while sleeping,
and it hurts that children go to bed hungry.

My soul is telling me
that the graves need flowers.
Perhaps they didn't come with tears and love.
Or perhaps they didn't leave with tears and honor.

For some of them I hear
cries for forgiveness
for souls that lost their lives in mistake.

For others that lived
in total indifference
now its the silence
which is the most cruel punishment.

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