© Jeffrey Czum/Pexels

Psalm 131

© Jeffrey Czum/Pexels


Surely I have behaved and quieted myself,
as a child that is weaned of his mother:
my soul is even as a weaned child.


It’s awkward—I’ve just buried my mother.
She’d dementia‐died long ago and I’m
swimming in the sea greens, nodding my head,
smiling—a polite mourner—but I’m not
grieving. She’s not fighting against currents.
Now, it’s just me drifting, legs wandering,
arms opening for sad‐eyed embraces—
I’m pivoting, netting regrets, brushing
aside sympathy like kelp in my face.
I’m not tasting my own words in my mouth
on burial day—they’re things she would’ve said,
You’re so kind. It’s a blessing. She’s at peace.
Soon I’ll recall who she was—find loss, not
death is the barb—the fishhook in the lip.

Jane Simpson lives in Atlanta, Ga.

Posted in: Poetry, The State of Quaker Institutions

2 thoughts on “Psalm 131

  1. Marsha says:

    City & State
    Kansas City, KS
    I lost my mother seven months ago. I can certainly “feel” the emotions in this poem. My mom pops in my thoughts every day. Thank you for your poem. Beautifully done.

  2. Jean Boal says:

    City & State
    Lancaster, PA
    What a beautiful poem. It reaches me and speaks to and for me. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Sign up for Friends Journal's weekly e-newsletter. Quaker stories, inspiration, and news emailed every Monday.

ATTENTION: The website will be undergoing maintenance between June 3 and June 20, 2020. Comments made during this period may get inadvertently deleted. We apologize for this inconvenience.

Web comments may be used in the Forum column of the print magazine and may be edited for length and clarity.