Your Mother Should Know: or don't compete with your mother, brother.

Here at PRELUDIUM, in addition to picking at the scabs of the various booboos of Anglican-land inhabitants there are other projects of, let us say, a more personal and often more joyful, nature.

As near as I can tell the only way to live into the fullness of scripture, reason and tradition as informing is to see words as a way into the Word, reason as a way into God's dream we call the world, and tradition as a way into the art of living into it all.

So when I am not overwhelmed with hacking away at the trees I look to the forest. Today, after several weeks of setting type, messing with format, checking out different papers, etc, I printed a poem in the series, "POEMS 50CENTS EACH." The title is, "There is Comfort in the Spanish Tongue." It is in hand set type printed on a 130 year old Golding Press #3. I was feeling good about it all.

Then, on the very same day we received a book made by my mother, Anne Harris (aka the sainted mother) titled "SKY." Seventy-four pages of pictures and comments done on computer - the art by hand with a mouse. It is stunning! Here is a picture titled, "Easter Week 1948, Pico Bolivar."
Wonderfully (as sometimes happens in families) we were both remembering things about the time we lived in Venezuela. She, after almost 50 years remembered the trip we took, moving from Maracaibo to Caracas.

My poem is a memory of my father, the record we had of Alma Mia played over and over again on the phonograph in the living room in Maracaibo, and exile - a place we have both lived.

The whole thing made me immensely happy in that kind of odd way that comes with memories of times both dear and sometimes just a bit overwhelming. I thought almost at once of the Beetles song, "Your Mother Should Know."

"Let’s all get up and dance to a song that was a hit
Before your Mother was born
Though she was born a long long time ago
Your Mother should know - your Mother should know
Sing it again.

Lift up your hearts and sing me a song that was a hit
Before your Mother was born
Though she was born a long long time ago
Your Mother should know - your Mother should know
Your Mother should know - your Mother should know ....

So... the lesson of the day is Your Mother Should Know, and she does. Anne, the Sainted Mother, remembers the stuff of our childhood and of her love and adventures with Ed in Venezuela and everywhere else. We were not competing today, thank goodness, just finishing up about the same time. She wins hands down, however...great art, wonderful words, and all at 89 years old.

The poem I wrote (seen in part in the picture above) is this:

In the night hours
the bolero still calls up

the smell of fecund gardenias
and full bodied cigars,
the feel of the fog of rum,
the tropic ruins,
and memories of someone
dim in the hallway,
unaddressed by name

but known,

hinted at in the shadows.

Squandering the night hours
I cry quietly for my father
whose scratchy recording
of Alma Mia

is playing in the background.

There is comfort
in the Spanish tongue,
the language of my first exile,
in the words my father heard
in Venezuela.

In the night watch
the bolero calls,
and an aweful sadness:
I touch the far side of every love
and every hope and home.

(for those among you who can spell...I deliberately spelled "awful" "aweful." Lets put the awe back in awful, and the Thor back in Thursday.)

Anne the mad artist does it again. You can see her work HERE and her books for sale HERE.


  1. ¡Muchisimas gracias a tu mamá y usted!
    Thanks for sharing your stories.

  2. Mil gracias!

    Leonardo Ricardo


OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.