For Mother’s Day

May Sarton (born Eleanore Marie Sarton), was an only child. Her parents fled with their two-year-old daughter from their Belgian homeland when the Germans invaded in 1914, first to Britain, and then on to America. Her father, who was a chemist, went to work at Harvard, and got a grant from the Carnegie Foundation. He became one of the notable 20th century historians of science. Her mother was English artist Mabel Eleanor Elwes.

Sarton is one of my most favorite poets. While her poem, August 3rd, was not written for Mother’s Day, I think it is one of the greatest tributes to a mother ever.


To read May Sarton’s poem, please click:


August 3rd

by May Sarton

These days
Lifting myself up
Like a heavy weight,
Old camel getting to her knees,
I think of my mother
And the inexhaustible flame 
That kept her alive 
Until she died. 

She knew all about fatigue 
And how one pushes it aside 
For staking up the lilies 
Early in the morning, 
The way one pushes it aside
For a friend in need, 
For a hungry cat. 

Mother, be with me. 
Today on your birthday
I am older than you were 
When you died 
Thirty-five years ago.
Thinking of you 
The old camel gets to her knees, 
Stands up, 
Moves forward slowly
Into the new day. 

If you taught me one thing 
It was never to fail life.

  Tang dynasty Terracotta Sculpture of a Kneeling Camel

About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for the past 45 years, spending much of that time commuting on the 405 Freeway. After Hollywood failed to appreciate her genius for acting and directing, she began a second career managing non-profits, from which she has retired. Nona has now resumed writing whatever comes into her head, instead of reports and pleas for funding. She lives in a small house overrun by books with her wonderful husband and a bewildered Border Collie.
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