arrived at the nursing home the following
night, the scene there was a duplicate of the night before with adult
members crowded around Mom’s bed and younger relatives out in
quietly entertaining themselves. Their numbers and shared sense of
faith made it slightly easier to bear the knowledge that only an unseen
breath and time stood between death and a woman whose will,
love had been a defining influence in all our lives. In times when we
ourselves to passionate pursuits of wealth and achievements in the
world, she had remained the anchor that kept our spirits balanced and
What now would happen to those who could not longer depend on her for
strength, wisdom, and love needed to negotiate the terms of their
As for me, I
was so at peace in my role of solitary
night sentry that I imagined there must have been lifetimes when I
fortress walls scanning distance and horizons for hints of danger. And
was no question that in this lifetime, following the loss of my infant
children, I had developed a strong shaman-like propensity for
which I sometimes carried an individual’s soul from one place
to another. After
experiencing such dreams, the individual that I had carried in the
usually passed from the physical world within a week. In my
mother’s case, I
had not experienced any such dream-visions, presumably because the
hand was adequately evident.
had passed since Mom’s eyes had opened
and they remained closed as I settled in to spend my fourth night with
was glad that I still had parts three and four of Universes Beyond the
~ Elements of Dream to read.
section of the book dealt with the element
of “water/agua” and I noticed that the font for the
lettering was a fluid
script reflective of the subject itself. I flipped back through the
sections and realized that the title fonts for those also corresponded
subject––thin fine lines for the section on
“air/ar,” and jaggedly florid lines
for the pages on “fire/fogo.” I guessed correctly
that the final section would
contain a heavy bold font indicative of the earth element.
happily dazzled by the first photograph in the
section on water: small bursts of white light inside softly iridescent
inside a pool of marine blue. Opposite the photo sat
Alexandra’s poem, “Beyond
the Visible.” Reading it, then looking again at
Joseph’s amazing photograph, I
couldn’t help thinking of the lights in the image as angels
and guiding spirits
standing guard with me over my mother emerging soul.
poem in the section, “Unrehearsed
Somewhere,” seemed to speak directly to Mom’s state
consciousness in which she could not be described as fully inhabiting
world or the next:
Here and there
not the only phrase suspended
quite within the frame
the poem, the image
sometimes, the dream…
this suspension of distance
emergence and leaving
it feels natural, peaceful, and serenely inevitable
be here, and there
one more living concept
by envoys of muses unseen
mostly transmuted forms
musical secrets awash somewhere
a saline puddle
As I read
this poem aloud, I sensed unseen others
drawing very near. This neither surprised nor frightened me. Many years
my mother had told me how she used to walk some fifteen blocks at night
her job at the old DeSoto Hotel (now the DeSoto Hilton) in downtown Savannah
to her home and children on Jefferson Street on the city’s West Side. Whenever she had to walk by herself,
which was most of the time, a man would show up on the opposite side of
street and walk a path parallel to hers. She never spoke to him, but he
indicate to her when she should avoid an approaching stranger, take a
turn, or walk a little faster to reach home a little sooner. After she got closer to
the house, the man would
disappear somewhere. Sitting in her room and reading to her, I
this guardian soul who used to walk with her, among however many
with us now.
page, I marveled at the creative
synchronicity between poetry, dual languages, and photography in Universes Beyond the Visible ~ Elements of
Dream. The glittering rapture of “Ocean’s
Ascent” pulled me inside a deep
reverie about the changes taking place in my life, which for a decade
largely defined by my role as a caregiver.
exceptional quality of art and poetry did not
diminish in section four, titled “earth/terra,” of
the book. If anything, it
increased with a richly fertile blend of color and song that enchanted
and soothed the mind. For some reason, Joseph’s short poem,
“Circle of Life,”
struck me with the force of a boulder. I wanted to read it aloud. Only
I could not.
Something similar happened upon reading Alexandra’s poem, and
accompanying photograph for “Tableau with more than
cause of my unexpected inability to read
aloud, it seemed to have the same impact on Mom’s roommate,
because she did not shake her bed rail or call out once. Just as I came
accept that some unseen force appeared to have cancelled my ability to
aloud, I turned to the poem “Contemplation,” with
its majestic accompanying
image of a stone bridge amid lush forest greenery. Without hesitation,
I did read
aloud this time:
their voices are now silent.
I listen with my heart,
can hear them,
can feel the tears they’ve cried
both Joy and Sorrow.
know me and I know them.
too, have had presence here before.
I stand in reverent silence
the centre of the Rose of the Four Winds…
the centre of the Universe.
know not where the wind will carry me.
my hands uplifted
my face toward the sun,
give thanks for what was, what is, and what
winds are dancing all around me
a never-ending circle,
an ever-flowing stream,
in and out of my body
the top of my head
the soles of my feet.
part of the Four Winds.
am the stream.
and Birth are Twin Souls
are Dark and Light.
one knows the beginning or the end.
am nothing… I am everything.
thing is that it was clearly my voice
reciting the words of the poet-photographer Joseph, and yet the one
felt indisputably like my mother, WilliMae Griffin Lloyd.
glided peacefully through the remaining
words and images of Universes Beyond the
Visible ~ Elements of Dream. Instead of profoundly marking
the end of
something, the last page seemed to signal a new and important
morning of February 8,
a very chilly Wednesday, I did as I had been doing for almost a
home from the nursing home so I could bathe, catch up on some work,
grab a nap,
and eat before heading back out in the evening. I prepared a larger
intended but had resolved to make myself eat it when the telephone
answered it and stopped breathing at the sound of my brother
baritone voice: “Our mother’s at peace
In less than
twenty minutes, I stood outside the
nursing home breathing deeply the cold night air to steady my nerves
strengthen my soul. I embraced two nieces who were standing outside
gave one of them my jacket. Inside, the hallway and Mom’s
room were filled with
my blood-kin. Their eyes and their broken hearts overflowed with grief.
space beyond their weeping, I also saw my mother’s eyes. They
were open now and
shining, like two small suns radiating their gifts of light and love
very first time and always.
Aberjhani is the
award-winning author of I Made My Boy Out of Poetry, Encyclopedia of
Renaissance, and The Wisdom of W.E.B. Du
Aberjhani é o autor galardoado de "I Made My Boy Out of Poetry", "Encyclopedia of
Renaissance", e "The Wisdom of W.E.B. Du
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