My mother, Edna Irene (Ott) Ebertt, one of my very best friends, passed away nearly a decade ago. I miss her every day. This poem speaks to both her spirit and her grace. It’s by Philip Appleman, an American poet and Professor Emeritus in the Department of English at Indiana University Bloomington.


The toughness indoor people have:

the will to brave confusion in

mohair sofas, crocheted doilies–challenging

in every tidy corner some

bit of the outdoor drift and sag;

the tenacity in forty quarts of cherries up for winter,

gallon churns of sherbet at

family reunions,

fifty thousand suppers cleared away;

the tempering

of rent-men at the front door, hanging on,

light bills overdue,

sons off to war or buried, daughters

taking on the names of strangers.


You have come through

the years of wheelchairs, loneliness–

a generation of pain

knotting the joints like ancient apple trees;

you always knew

this was no world to be weak in:

where best friends wither to old

phone numbers in far-off towns;

where the sting of children is always

sharper than serpents’ teeth; where

love itself goes shifting

and slipping away to shadows.


You have survived it all,

come through wreckage and triumph, hard

at the center but spreading

gentleness around you–nowhere

by your bright hearth has the dust

of bitterness lain unswept;

today, thinking back, thinking ahead

to other birthdays, I

lean upon your courage

and sign this card, as always,

with love.


2 Responses to “A HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY”
  1. PassAire@aol.com says:

    What a fitting poem to honor your mother.


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  • Copyright © 2011-16, Dianne Ebertt Beeaff. All Rights Reserved.
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