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    painting waves

    Poems: “Motherhood on the One Quiet Night,” “Wreck and Restore Me”

    By Jane Greer

    April 2, 2022
    • Marianne Helen Jones

      This is a wonderful and wonderfully honest poem with which I identify. The worst times in my life were during this season when my daughter was acting out and I was torn apart with fear, grief and rage. And yet, it led to a necessary rending that changed me and my relationships for the better, by God's grace. I would not relive that pain for anything, yet I would not go back to the person I was before, either. Thanks to the poet for her honesty and vulnerability!

    • TR

      Your poems are beautiful and give words to emotions that are hard to express. Thank you.

    Motherhood on the One Quiet Night

    Today our truculent son left for a week.
    Tonight my husband reads and, for my sake,
    listens to music with the headphones on,
    knowing I’m close outside, the windows are open;
    knowing I pounce on quiet when I find it.

    The grief: I cannot seem to move beyond it,
    but in this silence I will try to save
    some shred of this beastly day, try to believe
    in redemption, and that I am not the beast—
    voice tight, teeth showing, my hour come round at last.


    painting of a rowboat in waves with a sinking ship in the background

    Ivan Aivazovsky, The Shipwreck in a Stormy Sea (Public domain)

    Wreck and Restore Me

    Once on a violent afternoon
    I prayed Please take me apart, and soon.
    I fear what’s before me,
    and grow despairing, mean and hard.
    Demolish and renovate me, Lord.
    Wreck and restore me.

    Habit by habit, flaw by flaw,
    break and mend me under love’s law.
    The work requires it.
    Retrofit me to do your will.
    Yes, I know it will hurt, and still
    my soul desires it.

    Straighten what I have ruined or bent
    for years since I was innocent.
    Help me be mild.
    The good in me please amplify
    until this boy and you and I
    are reconciled.

    Contributed By

    Jane Greer founded Plains Poetry Journal in the 1980s and edited it for fourteen years. Her first poetry collection was Bathsheba on the Third Day (Cummington Press, 1986) and her latest is Love Like a Conflagration (Lambing Press, 2020). She lives in North Dakota.

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