Thursday, October 27, 2016

DMC: "What My Mother Taught Me" by Doraine Bennett


She taught me gin rummy and badminton,
to make Chef Boyardee Pizza
with a crust ten-cent thin.
She taught me to make my bed
before I was out of it,
to clean my room,
that homework came first.
She taught me to cook,
together we learned to sew.
She taught me to practice piano,
to listen, and not get caught talking.

She taught me justice, but without
mercy that makes it redemptive.
She taught me to be truthful, but
she meant her version,
and it was seldom spoken in love.
She taught me that getting your own way
hurts the ones close to you.
She taught me silence
is not golden when it shuts people out.
She taught me that touch is tender,
not tenuous.
She taught me that kindness is more
important than the appearance of kindness.
She taught me when bitterness takes root,
you can lose your best friend.
She taught me to be a mother.
Sometimes knowing
what not to do is the best lesson.

Today I sat beside her bed and read.
I held her withered hand in mine,
kissed her wrinkled brow
because I know what it means
to need those things.
She taught me that.

© 2012 Doraine Bennett. All rights reserved.

Kenn Nesbitt has challenged us to write poems for our mothers this month. Click HERE for more details.

Post your poem on our October 2016 padlet. All contributions will be included in a wrap-up celebration TOMORROW, Friday, October 28th, and one lucky participant will win an autographed copy of Kenn's delightful new anthology, forthcoming from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on November 1, 2016:


  1. "She taught me that kindness is more
    important than the appearance of kindness."
    Love this line!

  2. Smart mother. Smart daughter. Thank you for sharing your touching poem, Dori, and for giving us a glimpse of your lives together.

    1. Thanks for posting my poem, Michelle. I've enjoyed the mother poems this month.

  3. Such a generous ending, Dori. It's "knowing
    what not to do" and knowing "what it means
    to need" affection and companionship. Very open-hearted.

    1. Thanks, Tabatha. Lots of healing work goes into that ending.

  4. What a sweet and sad poem. Thanks for sharing your journey.

  5. And she taught you to share the wisdom as you did with love in this poem, Doraine. I love that you showed us much about your mother, and now you, in your words. Thank you.

  6. Beautiful, Dori. Hugs to you. Mom poems tear me up.

  7. Lovely words and thoughts, Dori. The ending of your poem is wonderful in so many ways.