Join the Neopoet online poetry workshop and community to improve as a writer, meet fellow poets, and showcase your work. Sign up, submit your poetry, and get started.

IDA AT NINETY-SIX

I tell my mother to go on living,
So she will answer the phone when I call;
Because if life is a cornucopia of hope,
There must be some redemption
In having suffered in loneliness.

The mind is sharp and the life force strong!
Yet she is a skeptic to god-
Doesn’t know, doesn’t care-
“What will be, will be.”

Her posture has become a question mark,
With nerves hot-wired from within.
Now the agony of sparrow bones
Supports her thinning skin.
Pain killers tighten up the guts;
Her breathing is accompanied by moans
From the skeleton now showing its crevasses!

Maybe hope is the imagination
That makes the photographs of youth
Seem like they were taken yesterday.
Maybe it’s the little girl inside her soul
Rollicking catcalls at Pandora.

But days pass without hope
With only her pleading to the abstract
To get the terror moment over with-

And all I have to offer is this poem,
A coin tossed in the fountain.

Last few words: 
Ida is my mothers name, but it does also have a unique mythology as being a motherhood symbol, as Mount Ida was the birthplace of Zeus. Also, although not at all critical to the poem, it is interesting to note that "hope" was in mythology a spirit, not a god(des). Hope was the only force left in Pandora's box after she released the forces of life in to world. Her symbolic image is that of a little girl carrying a cornucopia. That image was used on the back of Roman coins.
Editing stage: 

Comments

Reading the poem again with mythology in mind added to the poem in a good way, because at first I figured your mother probably wouldn't want to be immortalized in a poem that refers to her as skeletal and frail. Instead, she can represent hope, which I'm sure anyone would appreciate.

The second and fourth stanzas are incredible and poignant and really make a reader stop and appreciate their own existence. So for me, the last two stanzas take away from that moment of introspection and gratitude for the good that we have. "All I have to offer is this poem" especially feels like a tough blow. Poems are powerful things. Hope is important in this poem and in life and poems and other art forms can be the catalysts of that hope. I do totally understand and relate to the feeling of insignificance thought. I know all too well the feeling that what I have to offer isn't good enough, but if we are to have hope, we've got to believe that even if we are insignificant compared to the vast universe, we aren't insignificant to the people we care about and that's what should matter.

If you decide to make revisions, I'm not really sure what I would suggest. Not everything is perfect sunshine and rainbows all the time, so the ending is totally realistic. At the same time, how could the message be different if the last two stanzas were changed/omitted? I'm not totally sure, but I hope my comments give you some inspiration.

Kelsey

Advocates Coordinator

Critique, don't comment. Neopoet is a workshop and is designed to share your poetry, receive and make critique of the work posted, and most importantly, for you to evolve as a poet.

www.kelsey-burroughs.weebly.com

shades of Wendy Cope.

My companion, Preston, made a coin or two being a member of the Cornucopia Club.
Many a slack lass carried his in hand. The Sex Industry is booming
and yours is not what it was when you tossed more than a coin into the well
Wishing you every happiness.

Gunnar.

for comments. I have, since these comment, made a small change by switching places of stanza 2 and 3, which i think gives the poem better logic.
I have never heard of Wendy Cope and look forward to reading her work. Poetry like all the arts...once you think you have at least been introduced to all the prominent voices there's another one that you find out about.

Eumolpus
I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

author comment

and a good thing to!

Turn it on it's head, that's what I say.

...became a tad famous
by Making Cocoa
for Kingsley Amis.

What fame will i know
by making cocoa
for Anonymous,
or whatever his name is?

There's hope! there's hope
if Wendy Cope
can get herself published
by Faber.

There's hope! there's hope!
-i'll shelve the rope,
There's hope
for me poetic labour.

Ive come back to it a few times.
Ive misplaced some words and made some shortcuts while it was soaking in the stream of my subconsciousness.
Do you want to see, how I remember your poem?

I ask my mother to keep living,
I told her, "Ida,
answer the phone
when I call you.
A cornucopia of hope
carries redemption for those
who is strong."
Skeptic to gods,
she doesn’t care,
“What will be, will be,”
she is
straightforward.
Her posture though
is a question mark.
With nerves
hot-wired from within,
an agony of sparrow bones
supports her thinning skin;
her breathing moans.
But there is a little girl
inside her rollicking
catcalls at Pandora.
And all I have to offer
is my hope
overflowing my poems,
a coin tossed in the fountain
once and for all.

IRiz

This rendition is stunning.
I have a lot to think about.
Thank you!

Eumolpus
I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

author comment

What a pleasure to talk with you.
To be so open minded and tolerant takes years of cultivation.
I like your poem a lot, the content is rich and simple like real life!
My regards to Ida ! (Such a poetic name.)

IRiz

cornucopia
a new word for my 100 words dictionary.
I will have to google for its meaning

Yes old age is a curse
we want them to live
just a smile will do
if she looks at ye

let her live
death is no fear
trillions have faced it
with or w/o God
tell her..
a broad
SMILE
she is BOUND TO GIVE YOU.
YESTERDAY i READ IN the papers
a 126 year old man
still votes
let her also

Since the poem itself makes no mention of mythology I'll comment as if there were no *notes because if this were read by Joe Public he'd have none. So here's a version with changes I'd make were this poem mine :

I tell my mother to go on living,
So she answers the phone when I call;
Because if life is a cornucopia of hope,
There must be redemption
In having suffered the loneliness.

The mind is sharp and the life force strong!
Yet she is a skeptic of god-
Doesn’t know, doesn’t care-
“What will be, will be.”

Her posture has become a question mark,
With nerves hot-wired from within.
Now the agony of spare bones
Supports her thinning skin.
Pain killers tighten up the guts;
Her breathing is indistinguishable (sic) from moans
From the skeleton now showing its crevasses!

Maybe hope is imagination
That makes the photographs of youth
Seem like they were taken yesterday.
Maybe it’s the little girl inside her soul
Tossing catcalls at Pandora.

But days pass without hope
With only her pleading to some abstraction
To get the terror moment over with-

Would that I had more to offer
than a mere poem,
A coin tossed in the fountain.

Hope these ideas are of some use

and the act of doing a "rewite" puts one very much into the process of writing the poem. It requires a in depth reading, so it is a compliment.
There is a ray of hope in your conclusion, if you had a way to offer some real "hope"... whereas I have nothing else to offer but this poem, I think "mere" is implied in referring to the poem as some pennies into a fountain. But I do understand your point.
'indistinguishable" is a good word, a whopping 6 syllables. I would omit the word "is" to steal one back. why is the (sic) there? Nothing out of grammar there...
I am visiting my ailing 96 yr old mother tomorrow, she lives in NY, I'm in DC. I will try hard to get her to smile. I would not be showing her this poem.

Eumolpus
I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

author comment
(c) Neopoet.com. No copyright is claimed by Neopoet to original member content.