• Stephen Hill


It's just gone past Mother's Day. I'm a wee bit late, but that never bothered me. I always went by a different timing than others. My mother knows that; she knows me.

Read this poem. Read it again. Over and over. It conveys something about the love of a mother that is without conditions, because it is pre-existent. It pre-exists rebellion (not that I was particularly rebellious), it pre-exists disappointment. The love of a mother has a completeness about it. The poet says that he was able to err (make mistakes) because he was already safe and found within his mother's love. I can say this of my own mother, who is now 91. This picture of her was quite a long time before she became a mother but it shows her dignity, grace and her level-eyed approach to life.

To My Mother (by Wendell Berry)

I was your rebellious son, do you remember? Sometimes I wonder if you do remember, so complete has your forgiveness been. So complete has your forgiveness been I wonder sometimes if it did not precede my wrong, and I erred, safe found, within your love, prepared ahead of me, the way home, or my bed at night, so that almost I should forgive you, who perhaps foresaw the worst that I might do, and forgave before I could act, causing me to smile now, looking back, to see how paltry was my worst, compared to your forgiveness of it already given. And this, then, is the vision of that Heaven of which we have heard, where those who love each other have forgiven each other, where, for that, the leaves are green, the light a music in the air, and all is unentangled, and all is undismayed.

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