A Dedication to my Grandmothers on Mother’s Day

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking.”

—Naomi Wolf


My English grandmother, Caroline, would put it in her own way. “Girl, you have a bloody tongue in your head, use it.” I did and I continue to do so. There has always been a price but it was the advice that probably saved my emotional life. We had high tea and I played bingo with her and her lady friends. I never lost and it was years until I realized they let me win. She also had a closet with a box of toys in it for us to play with. I could walk under her dining room table. Today, I tell my own grandchildren to speak their truth, I always let them win at games and there is always a box of toys.


My grandparents came over on the boat through Nova Scotia from London with 5 children and one on the way. I think she was brave and good and she loved me. I still miss her.


My grandmother Marie was the center of my life. She was Croatian. She sewed dresses, even wedding dresses, by hand. All those little tiny stitches by hand. She kept the cleanest house I have ever seen. I can’t sew. It makes me a nervous wreck. I spent summers with her and my grandpa in Cleveland when I was young and I was very happy there with them. I learned to be a good person from them and to have good manners and to love the Cleveland Indians. I was 16 when Grandma Marie died and I was inconsolable. The sunshine left my world and I miss her still.


A Word to the Wise 


Sometimes, with age comes wisdom. These pioneering women were wise with skills and experience, and they were often able to share with us their intuition, nurturing, compassion, and personal truths. Often this occurred in a simple act of relating a story, teaching a lesson or modeling.


Words brought hope and encouragement. The special way a loving grandparent spoke a child’s name was soothing. Some words, sacred phrases, or secular advice conjured healing for spiritual or physical wounds. Other words became cues for listening well; what followed might change a life forever. For one granddaughter, a grandmother’s words taught her to appreciate everyday activities for their simple truths and wise instruction.


Bone of my Bones

“Families will not be broken.

Curse and expel them, send their children wandering,

drown them in floods and fires,

and old women will make songs out of all these sorrows

and sing them on mild evenings.”

—Marilynne Robinson


My grandmothers were my oracles, my wise women and nothing ever shook their love for me. I was not always an easy child. I hated hypocrisy and spoke up about it. I hated injustice and that was good for a rant. I am a survivor of child abuse. My mother was my abuser. My grandmothers were the center of my universe and the anchor in my turbulent seas. They listened as I poured out my pain and fear and anger. Their love kept me alive and going forward. I needed to tell people so that grandmothers know how vital they are to their grandchildren. I have nine grandchildren. They are the sun and moon, the celestial music to me. I am so lucky to have them in my life. If you have read my about page, you know the many things I have done in my life. Being a grandmother is the most important and the most fulfilling.


To all of my readers and friends who are mothers, aunts, or grandmothers, know you are the tree of life in the world of your little ones. It is a position of honor so celebrate this high honor.






The Tree of Life

The Tree of Life

A Mother’s Day Tribute to Mother’s Everywhere

Joan Papalia Eisert has a B.A. in English from Gannon University. Over the past thirty-six years she has had numerous poems published in small press magazines, newspaper articles, on the Internet, and in Daystar Productions. Two of her poems earned blue ribbons, and one was awarded the Editor’s Choice Award (Sulfur and Sawdust, Scars Publications). Joan’s poetry has also been used in English classes, prison ministry, and various outreach missions. Her first chapbook of poetry, Flat Days was published in 1996. She has read her work at several poetry venues including: Chautauqua Institution (Chautauqua, NY), Erie Book Store, Uncrowned Queens of Western New York’s poetry reading (Buffalo, NY), Mt. St. Benedict (Erie, PA), Maria House Projects’ Diocesan Lodge (West Spring Creek, PA), poetry reading venues in Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, and Authors Books and Music (Warren, PA). Joan’s poetry will be published in the premier issue of Mending Reality, and she is currently working on her latest poetry collection, Fluency.
Joan taught a Poetry/Creative Writing class at the Maria House Projects’ Diocesan Lodge in West Spring Creek, PA for 10 years. The Maria House Projects provide homes for troubled men who are in need of community for healing. They include alcoholics, drug addicts, men deeply disturbed emotionally, and men suffering from the effects of homelessness and imprisonment. Joan uses creative writing to help the residents heal through artistic expression. She is publisher/editor of ten volumes of For Pete’s Sake, which are the class’ literary collections.
Joan is also an accomplished singer, performing professional since 1971 starting out as a soloist. She was taught voice by Mary Jane Gregan, and extraordinary vocalist herself, from Edinboro, PA. Joan is half of the duo, Fire and Ice (with her husband Paul), now in their 32nd year of performing together, and she sang in the band, Daystar, for seven years.

March 9th 2010 (for Mom)

Her richly variegated eyes of brown and struggle
dilating in graceful homage
to the rays of this tender
early, ubiquitous sun
on this day of fragile yielding
to the promise of coming warmth
soothing like the balm in Gilead

In this golden spectrum
of such a fleeting moment
our love glistens
amid the brilliant gushings of

A Backyard Day

Reminiscent of my mother’s sheets
looking lonely on the line
when September was too warm
and we were gone
has my sweet caramel daughter
nibbling an apple in her wading pool
each look a book
while I’m clinging to the buzz and flutter
of this August afternoon

She’ll be gone before I know it
like my shadow
in this particular sun

A Warm Day in March

kissing the cat
curled beneath the breath
of tide laundered sheets
no noise today
conjures me returning to the upstairs
of her house
on one of those days
she’d gone to the market
with my mother
her bedroom first
to finger the jewelry and rosary beads
on the mirrored filigree tray
displayed on the dresser
across from the wall-wide closet
with drawers and drawers
full of leather purses
and shoes and shoes and shoes
rich syrupy savory leather shoes

look and touch
look and inhale
then pad to the bathroom
i’d already passed
at the top of the stairs
her aroma greets and lingers
staying awhile
in that small stuffed room
absorbing the tub tucked underneath
the glass block window
oscillating low afternoon rays
the trolley crowded with perfumes
atomizers soaps creams lipsticks
custom-blended foundations
and me me in the medicine chest mirror
melting into a delicious bouquet of the illusion
that I matter


You gave me an aluminum pot
with a wooden grip in the
middle of its wooden handle
And there’s a small metal
grip on one side to hold onto
while pouring
And most clever of all
there’s a little section of the
pot’s lid that’s perforated for
straining or releasing steam
and even these efficient
clustered holes have their
own hinged cover
Jesus– all in one pot

You tell me you have two
of these pots
You got this one
a long time ago
For my pasta and my potatoes
you tell me

You tell me you never had
such a nice pot
“They no maka them lika
thees no more”

You tell me one day this summer
I can help you clean
Who knows what we’ll find

Good Friday (for Mom)

My mother
faithful mother
anointed, sensitive

Encouraging mother
loving mother
taking me with her

Shepherding mother
complicated mother
fearing no evil, no shadow of death

Suffering mother
gifted mother
conflicted, compassionate

Generous mother
Mary’s daughter
Christ’s sister
My mother

Joannie is a published peot and a very dear freind. I am honored to share her work. These poems are in loving memory of her Mother, Valda Papalia and Mary Ann Eisert,  her mother in law. I thank you Joannie for sharing this day and your memories with my readers.  May The Beloved bless all the Mothers and Grandmothers that are no longer with us in this life.


Mother’s Day Proclamation of 1870

Mother’s Day Proclamation of 1870 – Julia Ward Howe

“Arise, the women of this day!
Arise all women who have hearts,
Whether your baptism be that of water or of tears!
Say firmly
“We will not have questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking of carnage,
for caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We women of one country
will be too tender of those of another country
to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”
From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes with
our own, it says ‘disarm! disarm!’
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.
Blood does not wipe out dishonor
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
whereby the great human family can live in peace,
each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Ceasar,
But of God.
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
that a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient
and at the earliest period consistent with its objects,
to promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
the amicable settlement of international questions,
the great and general interests of peace.”

Photo by Barbara Mattio