Henry Moore, Mother and Child 1929
© The Henry Moore Foundation

To the Matriarchy

In the lane turning West--
Dogs all sizes and breeds
Silent and keen in their summer ease
And their masters gathered beyond like witnesses
In the cool mystic dark

Whatever happened is over
There is no sound
The car glides through
They fade back with free grace

Suddenly someone from work
Runs this way overjoyed
Slipping through alloy and steel as though to kiss
But is spun away into the darkness
Why was he there anyway?
This nondescript messenger
And the Guards?
Sound mass and energy release
Into a world governed by huge skies
We arrive by carriage
Through dappling sun and shade
In Old Carpathia
The forests rise eternal
From an opening we see river and ramparts
To my child's gaze the ancient walls of the city
Are living they spring from Infinite Earth
Far below the conifers we are pulled along
Road stones sing slowly with the wheels
The horses do not strain
There is only the rhythmic creak of harness
My cousins a girl of dark brows and an older boy
Share this journey through the timelessness of Noon
In the sun-lit restaurant new-fashioned from the West
We sit at the glass-topped table and look down on the street
Listening to hushed murmurs of families and their cutlery
After Sunday worship

As we wait
I take up the embossed napkin and print
"I love you Mary
And I remember"
The letters veer and leap from the pencil point--
My cousins must laugh
But it doesn't matter
The Laws have been fulfilled
I have arrived in time to bless her before birth

For Mary Koerner Sperling
born Wednesday July 15, 1885
died Saturday September 1, 1962

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