.

Rosella

My Lone Star mother beams a summer smile
As golden as the sun-hugged coastal plains.
In snake-proof boots she trekked that extra mile
To settle my assimilation pains.
She steered my English foibles through the wild
And yellow-rose-blessed land I’ve grown to love.
By taking on this bruised and banished child
She raised a daughter’s spirits high above
The tweet of mockingbirds in sweet mesquites
And sprawling cotton fields of snowdrift-white
To fly star-spangled skies in timeless treats
Of age-old tales of Texas, moonshine bright.
No vast terrain or ceaseless sweep of sea
Will ever come between my mom and me.

.

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Susan Jarvis Bryant has poetry published on Lighten Up Online, Snakeskin, Light, Sparks of Calliope, and Expansive Poetry Online. She also has poetry published in TRINACRIA, Beth Houston’s Extreme Formal Poems anthology, and in Openings (anthologies of poems by Open University Poets in the UK). Susan is the winner of the 2020 International SCP Poetry Competition, and has been nominated for the 2022 Pushcart Prize.


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16 Responses

  1. Paul A. Freeman

    I really enjoyed this, Susan.

    Often mum-in-laws are the butts of jokes (though Les Dawson actually adored his mum-in-law), but here we get a heartfelt celebration with plenty of cultural references to Texas and Texas-ness.

    Love the final couplet – it really sums it up.

    Thanks for the read.

    Reply
  2. Russel Winick

    Susan – I love the whole poem (what else is new?), but I particularly loved: “In snake-proof boots she trekked that extra mile.” So motherish!

    Reply
  3. Norma Pain

    Thank you for this lovely Mother’s Day sonnet Susan and I wish you a very happy one.

    Reply
  4. Joseph S. Salemi

    Happy Mother’s Day, Susan. Since your biological mother is English, I assume the Texan Rosella is your mother-in-law, as Paul suggests.

    Reply
  5. jd

    A second lovely Mother’s Day poem to enjoy on THE day. Your well-practiced art shines more each time it’s aired, Susan. Thank you for another gem.

    Reply
  6. Jeffrey Essmann

    How wonderful, Susan–the idea of mothering as orienting us to an alien (and beautifully described) landscape, which I guess is what they all do, now, isn’t it. And, as a pretty much cloistered Manhattanite, I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed the “visit” to Texas the poem provided. Thank you for another lovely work.

    Reply
  7. Brian A. Yapko

    What a beautiful and charming sonnet you have written, Susan! Rosella is a very fortunate woman to have a loving daughter-in-law like you to offer such a gift on Mother’s Day! I especially love all of the details of the Texas landscape, this “yellow-rosed blessed landscape” under those “star spangled skies.” You have me humming the Yellow Rose of Texas through my broad smile at the richness you have in your new life — authentic relationships as well as genuine patriotism. It doesn’t get better than that!

    Reply
    • Joshua C. Frank

      This was going to be my comment as well, so I’ll just second everything Brian says.

      Reply
  8. Roy Eugene Peterson

    A precious Mother’s Day poem with thoughts of Texas that touches the soul of a fellow Texan. Thank you for the Mother’s Day gift.

    Reply
  9. Adam Wasem

    There’s nothing like turning the “evil mother-in-law” trope on its head. And you did it so beautifully and thoughtfully, it may be time to retire that trope forever. As someone who was born in Austin and has only been (briefly) back once, your descriptions of Texas make me homesick for a birthplace I never knew.

    Reply
  10. Alan Orsborn

    Very poignant and touching, not only regarding Rosella, but about Texas, whom she seems to embody poetically.

    Reply
  11. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    A big THANK YOU to all who have commented on my Mother’s Day sonnet. Rosella is a wise, gracious, and beautiful nonagenarian lady I met at my first job as church secretary shortly after arriving in Texas. We became firm friends to the point that I am now her daughter – a gift that has given me a family of brothers and sisters I have come to cherish. I wrote this poem for Rosella and for all those out there who (like me) know that a mother is far more than a name written on a birth certificate.

    Mothers-in-law get a bad rap, which is why I’m thrilled this poem speaks for mothers-in-law too. I am one myself and hope I’m judged on my deeds and not my clichéd title.

    Adam, Texas is wild and wonderful. I live on the coastal plains – a migratory bird path that has introduced me to the marvels of photography. I love the flora, the fauna, and I have come to respect the scary critters. Snake-proof boots are key to a carefree existence. 😉

    Reply
  12. Rohini

    Beautiful, Susan. Here’s to mothers everywhere who cross oceans, brave airport hassles and turbulence, to be with their children and suffer the pain of yet again helping them to cut that invisible umbilical cord.

    Reply
  13. Jeff Eardley

    Susan, you have blazed the Texan sun over a wet English afternoon with this. Time to dust off the Davy Crockett hat and hone up the Bowie knife. Rosella sounds like a special lady indeed.

    Reply

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