Nana’s Loving Arms

As we begin to make wedding shower plans for our future daughter-in-law, I find that my mind wanders to the wonderful women who have left legacies of loving support in former years.  Recently some vivid memories of my dear Nana flowed forth, urging me to write the following poem:

You held me then, soft within your loving arms…
Mother always said you cupped my tiny head within your palms exclaiming,
“She’s like a little apple come to life in my hands!”
As I grew I grasped your hand when we ran amid your haphazard perennial patch.

You held me then, soft within your loving arms…
We gathered raspberries in buckets, then floured our fingers for pressing out dough.
“Don’t be afraid to give it a good pinch,” she laughed;
And her nimble fingers flew around the pan creasing a fluted edge to the pie shell.

I wrapped your apron twice around myself, hoping to cover the smallness of me,
You tucked yours neatly at your waist, and swiped a cloth over your shoulder.
“Now wipe your hands here once,” (with that PA Dutch delight!)
Pushing my hands back and forth she painted white tendrils across the calico print.

“Nana yours looks like fireflies dancing around

flowers in a purple sky!
Mine’s too big, with too much dirty flour
messing it up!”
“Here now, you take both. One for wiping,
one to dance with,”
And she wrapped her apron like
a cape around my shoulders.

You held me then, soft within your loving arms…
With pieces of pie decorating our dishes, we sat in the dusk on the porch.
I leaned close to you, tracing the darting fireflies with my purple-stained fingers.
Then chuckling, you pulled me up, my cape swung round, as fireflies blinked before us.

You held me then, soft within your loving arms…
Nana, I haven’t had you near me for many long years,
The summers of raspberry custard pie on porches lit up with fireflies,
They have passed us by, the laughing dances, the swinging apron capes.

Then this morning you came to me,

you opened your arms,
Bringing me into your presence, into your free-flowing apron love…
I feel your gentle palms around my cheeks, as you cup my face towards yours,
You hold me again, soft within the spirit of your loving arms.
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