Friday, February 25, 2011

A Reflection on Family Reunions

Festival Weekend in Carmen Pampa: Family Reunion

This mother lives in Carmen Pampa,
And her children live in Caranavi.
To me, she is the mother who comes to the children’s library
when it is closing.
She seeks books for her children,
who live far away from her.
She wants them to dream of worlds other than their own.

On this day, her son, the eldest, who wears glasses,
can hold onto this woman who brings him books,
Whose love reaches him over the mountains
when they are apart—
The daughter, too, molds her body to her mother’s, absorbing strength and love.
This weekend will be long, and it stretches before them
like a parade of dancers-- never-ending.

The father is not here.
Perhaps he has to work in Caranavi,
As the mother has to work in Carmen Pampa.
There are no harsh words in this family,
no recriminations,
even if the parents no longer know one another.

I only know that that the children and their mother
meld into a family of three, the touch of the children
reminding her of all those days that
stretch behind her as the weekend is spread out before them,
a glorious banquet where all may love one another
as much as they want, until the moment of return
to separate lives,
where children return to their schools, and parents return to work,
when a mother thinks about which books her children would enjoy.

My husband is shooting the picture.
He is a father, and his children are far away.
I am a mother, and I am looking at the picture.
I have been in this photo,
my children so young and close to me,
my husband taking the picture.

I always bought my children books
And took them to libraries.
Now that I am far away from my child,
I look at pictures and think about the books she is reading.

I cannot send my son books now, but I know that
Because I bought him books, some of which he did not read,
He knew that I wanted him to live in other places-- not just Tennessee.

This reunion is short.
But the children will carry their books back to Caranavi,
and smile as they dream of their return.


  1. Lynn, I love that you used poetry to describe a moment from the festival in Carmen Pampa. And that pictures says so much! I can't wait to hear more about your transition to Cochabamba...

  2. Lynn,
    Glad you posted this. It stirred my emotions when I heard you read this reflection on our retreat and it stirred the emotions reading it this time. Beautiful.

  3. This was beautiful and touching. Oh, the poetry!