Cruise
     for all our Moms

She never left her life behind.
She packed it all away
As if embarking on a cruise
And planning for the day.

Her piano lid at last was down,
The music she adored,
All her compositions,
And sheet music safely stored.

Tulip bulbs and garden tools
She gathered to the shed;
Of the roses she made potpourris
To keep beside her bed.

Her precious family albums
Were neatly shelved and stacked,
The memories of a lifetime
In her mind securely packed.

She cleared her writing desktop
And closed her study door,
And all of these when safely stowed
She never mentioned more.

Nor was she sad to put them by,
Almost as one would bring
A providential house-cleaning...
Anticipating spring.

Her quiet hospice window
Looked out upon the sea,
With a lighthouse at the covehead
And a branch of hawthorn tree.

Her mind was ever active
And open still to learn,
And she hung a purple ribbon
For wisdom on that thorn,

For she knew the myth of hawthorns
And John Milton’s verse as well
That, “Every shepherd tells his tale
Under hawthorn in the dell.”

The burning bush of Moses’ dream
She said was of that thorn,
But closest to her heart of all
Christ’s crucifixion crown.

The ocean and the beacon light
And the glory of each dawn
Were a joy and her enchantment...
But one day the shade was drawn.

Then she squeezed my hand and nodded
From the pillow where she lay,
And with her precious cargo
Embarked and sailed away.