Requiem for a Grandmother

I saw them yesterday . . .
papery hands
at euchre tables
laying down hearts
and memories of another time
when bleeding was a different colour
and young women howled fiercely at the moon
with newborn babes clutched tightly at their breasts.
I saw them yesterday . . .
in silvery disguises
covering their hearts
with diamonds
and thin-lipped smiles
half-heartedly masking
the haunting of loneliness
and lost children.
Where is the place where grandmothers go to weep?
I am awake in the dark
lost in raw knowing
that these scars were carved
fresh and deep
to remind me that
I am still . . .
A mother.

by Michelle LaRiviere

September 24th, 2014
Windsor, Ontario

Author: Michelle LaRiviere

Michelle is a multidisciplinary artist, curator, writer, and teacher. She is also a Reiki Master and life coach, specializing in guided soul work. Her art has been exhibited nationally in Canada, as well as in Italy, the UK, and the United States. Her practice includes traditional as well as digital media.

10 thoughts on “Requiem for a Grandmother”

  1. These lines speak a truth in plenum:

    I am awake in the dark
    lost in raw knowing

    It’s a tearing away of the phenomenal glitter that the indirect worlds below the black loam of life suddenly reveal the numinous. I love the way you chose to use “raw knowing”: that sense of laying bare, unblemished, unfinished, that base knowing of things as they are without us.

    1. I don’t know if it was so much a matter of choice . . . but more a search of meaning through accurate word form to describe an intensity of profound existential awakening as a new grandmother – one who has found herself not at all where she thought she would be. My muse has always drawn blood.

      You describe so beautifully a profound interpretation of my poem, and paint a new picture in my mind. Thank you! I will reflect on your words.

    1. Thanks so much, Matt!

      My poetry is rarely constructed in a conscious, mechanical fashion (regarding rhythm and shape)… the best and most powerful ones seem to always come upon me from within, almost fully formed, and I have no choice but to facilitate their birth. They seem to will their own existence. Sometimes years will pass in between, which can only be explained as the mysteries of the soul at play.

      I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed this poem! It means a lot to receive feedback in the form of words. Thanks again for taking the time to comment.


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