My mum taught me how to say
'I Love You”
through the things that I do.
I didn't understand
how the things I do
could stand in for my voice.
'I want you to look in the mirror'
Mum would say...
I will steady my tiny boy legs
before the mirror and stare
at my bare chest
and stifle a chuckle;
my ears appeared funny.
'Look at yourself'
Mum's voice whispered softly behind my large ears.
I will look at the reflection of myself
and chuckle at my funny ears...
'This is it, son...
when you laugh at yourself
you ridicule the poor and helpless
in the streets'
She points at the scar on my knee.
'I want you to see every scar,
every grey hair as a badge of honour.'
'I want you to see in your reflection a sick man
and behind you a nurse, mother, medicine;
the medicine you need to heal our shared pain.
I want you to think back to the times
you were hungry
and there was no food to eat.
How I brought your toothless mouth to nipples
and gave the last drop of my nectar.
I want you to remember how you go searching in the river,
for periwinkles that don't exist
smudging or patrolling the streets,
and driving me nuts...
and remember how I took you in
scrubbed your body
washed your rags
without a scowl on my face
or a slap on your face'
I'm standing before the mirror
looking at a piece of love
a reflection of my mum
Her example is the blueprint
I needed to move into the future.
Mum never said 'I love you'
to the hearing of my large funny ears
Yet her actions,
like the music of an Oriental Orchestra
reverberates in my subconscious.
It sings thus:
Love is not a thousand sweet words
Love is not a well inked poem
Love is the little little things you do
Love is more of action than words
Love is reciprocal