Whole With Light

For My Mother Beatrice Summers on Her 90th Birthday
by Maj Ragain

reading by Jason Ryan

reading by Louise Phipps-Senft

The first hard freeze comes tonight,
December 5, the evening of your 90th birthday.
We have cut the last of the roses
and set them in little vases,
asking them to stay a while longer.
Never have they bloomed this late
into the season.
The hardiest of the dozens of roses
around our house is the Tamora,
a pale pink blossom that has refused to wilt
in the frosts, break in the winds
or yield to blight.
Its fragrance is a celestial vanilla,
painted with honey-hammered ginger.
In another time, you might have been named Tamora.
You have stayed late with us.
The days grow short.
The snow will come soon.
You remain, as I have always known you,
in bloom in a world broken yet whole,
in bloom in the pale sunlight of late fall,
in bloom wherever you find yourself planted,
my dear mother, my December rose.

Whole With Light
oil on linen
81 x 12”
In the collection of Kent State University Library, Wick Poetry section

Maj Ragain. Clouds Pile Up in the North: New & Selected Poem Press 53, LLC, Winston
Salem, NC, 2017 p. 86
Damen, Jessica & Ragain, Maj, Home To Sargasso Sea-A Long Journey of Loving
Collaboration, exhibition catalog, June 1-July 14, 2018, KSU Downtown Gallery, Kent OH,
Kent State University School of Art Collection and Galleries and the Wick Poetry Center
with support from the Ohio Arts Council. pp 42-43