“Know This” Poem for Mother’s Day For A Mother Taken Too Soon

Not a Mother, a Buddha, but Looks Motherly to Me

The Last Thing –  Mother To Child

For Rhona Saffer

Know that,
when I must go,
I will love you
just the same.

When I must go,
I know it will not feel
just the same.
There will be cool air—

I know it will not feel
like my lips—
but there will be cool air
caressing your face

like my lips,
while your smile only,
caressing your face
(oh reflection of mine),

will be your smile only.
I never wanted to cause you pain,
oh reflection of mine.
That was the last thing

I ever wanted to cause you—pain.
No, I would love you—
that was the last thing.
Just the same,

know, I would love you,
will love you,
just the same.
Know that.


The above is a poem (posted before) for Mother’s Day, written for a dear friend of mine, who was a consummate mother.  The poem was written for her when, in the terminal stages of breast cancer, she told me that one of the most painful parts of her impending death was her concern for the suffering it would cause her wonderful children. I was able to read the poem to her before her death. 

The picture is of a Japanese Buddha not mother! at the Yale Art Museum.  Although buddhas are generally male, this one has a very maternal feel, I think.  I am also linking this post to Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads, a site for poetry and support for poets, focusing today on motherhood.   

Explore posts in the same categories: poetry

Tags: , , , , , ,

You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

13 Comments on ““Know This” Poem for Mother’s Day For A Mother Taken Too Soon”

  1. peggygoetz Says:

    What a poignant and beautiful Mother’s Day poem. And yes this would be especially painful for a mother to know she would cause her children pain in her passing. How lucky you could read this to your friend.

  2. Grace Says:

    Hi Karin,

    This is Peggy’s link. I like this share, very loving and full of wisdom.

    Happy Mother’s Day to you ~


  3. Sweet and poignant. I do believe the love we have lives on long after we’re gone. Thanks so much for sharing this!

  4. brian miller Says:

    this is a really heart felt write…a great poem for mothers day..i cant imagine leaving my kids behind…but i also would not want them to go first…i imagine something like this being comforting…happy mothers day k…

  5. David King Says:

    I was surprised (at first) to read that the poem was not originally for the Buddha, or in any way devotional. My first thought was that you were introducing a devotional poem you had come upon. Upon reflection, I was not so surprised. The double use has reminded me of Henry Moore’s theories about the difference between a Mother and Child and a Madonna and Child sculpture. The difference struck me as being a bit thin, but was obviously important to him. I’m rambling on when I should be saying it’s a great poem with a good measure of nobility. It would have been a worthy tribute to your friend. Thanks for showing it. I’m real glad not to have missed it.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks so much, David. You know, I realize that it never even occurred to me to use a Madonna as mother here, and I haven’t read Moore’s thoughts, but I realize it would not have been appropriate, of course, because there’s a case of the child going before the mother.

      I love Madonna and Child paintings etc – especially Middle Ages, and early early Renaissance – but the child is kind of a little adult – even when suckling! And the Madonna has a placidity not much seen on the faces of young mothers! Thanks so much for your kind comment. k.

  6. shanyns Says:

    What a blessing to have shared this with your friend…amazing poem.

I'd love to hear from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: