passing – by Wayne-Daniel Berard

This poem was chosen for a musical response by our Featured Composer, Sherry Paige.
Music by Sherry Paige – Copyright 2019 Pigg Pen Music

the passing of my mother
is just that my mother
passes in a black ‘48 Plymouth
a bowler hat on wheels she
is driving she never drove
never learned dad drove her
then me my mother
passes smiling not stopping

Wayne-Daniel Berard, Ph.D., teaches Humanities at Nichols College, Dudley, MA. He publishes broadly in poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. His novella, Everything We Want, was published by Bloodstone Press in 2018. A full-length book of poetry, The Realm of Blessing, will be published in 2020 by Unsolicited Press. Wayne-Daniel lives in Mansfield, MA with his wife, the Lovely Christine.

Art: Wedgewood-Houston Underpass, water-soluble crayons, ink, marker, and paint on paper, digitally manipulated
Artist Statement: This is one of my favorite underpasses in Nashville — akin to the surprise and delight in Berard’s warm and concise, “Passing”, when you approach this underpass, you cannot see what’s around either bend of the road but are welcomed all the same with its beauty. The digital manipulation of the painting to mirror itself is a playful nod to that last line — “smiling, not stopping.”

Music: passing
Composer Statement: This one poem has started at least 4 treatments to capture what I feel and see in it. To express that I would need a recording studio full of other instruments or perhaps sidemen: accordion, harpsichord, steel guitar, karimba – to name a few. His mother has passed…and his ‘just that’ to describe it weighs heavy, yet cartoonish, with the picture of her driving a bowler hat on wheels…1948 Plymouth, at that. The calliope of sounds suggested in the reverie this grown child makes reveals the ambivalence inside. This is a stride beat, usually played in a major key, set in the minor to match the bittersweet moment of realizing she left no personal goodbyes in her wake…only one single lingering note.