To Mom, 8/6/09 (in 12/8)
This birthday brings us to the extent
Of this home's capacity for things.
(Even if only but ten percent
Of that housed at the Von Rosenvinge's).
Generations of Eckerts, Hamiltons, Steeles,
All here well-represented,
In photographs, keepsakes, aluminum wheels,
Obsolete or as yet un-invented.
How then shall we trace back to its beginning
This ancestral accumulation?
Who first had the thought that, instead of trimming,
Old possessions just change their location?
Even J. S. Bach, cleaning out his drawers,
Sought not to store in the basement;
For he simply accepted that all his great scores
Would be thrown away by his replacement.
But we who are mortal must put off till later
The disposal of our earthly goods.
And you who were matriarch must now be curator
Till we get ourselves out of the woods.
Your patience and kindness we might have deserved;
Though we haven't made all the right choices.
But there is no other mother we would have preferred,
Or who'd have shown greater joy in our voices.