Letters to my Mother

Gerard John Conforti



Dedicated to:

Jane Reichhold,Pamela Miller Ness
Linda Ondo


Autumn 1952

The winds blew furiously
They took you away
To where I did not know
I kept wondering why
You were never there for me


The fence in the play yard
Was taller than this little kid
Who looked at the sky
Where the clouds were passing
And leaves fluttered down


Where were you brothers
In this strange place
We didn’t know-
Eric, the youngest was with me
Who wept for mom constantly


The days seem so long
Not knowing what would happen
To my brothers and me
Who were absent from my life
Each long passing night


Father, your sons loved you
And you loved us greatly
Than why did you give birth
To the four of us
Who were later emotionally ill


As I slowly got older
I became a loner
I used to roam the meadows
stretching toward the hills
Leading to the sea





At night in the dorms
Where the large windows
Were open to the summer night
I used to think lying in bed
When I would go home to my father


Slowly, the seasons passed
The summers were hot
And the winter cold
It was like living in hell
Knowing how much pain there was


When our father
Came to visit his sons
We ran up to him
As he stooped down to hug us
In his arms


When our father left
After drinking in a bar
While his kids
Looked at him sitting there
We knew he really didn’t care


On weekends
Were the times we went home
To be with our dad
And we loved it so much
I wept inside knowing that Sundays passed


At Mount Loretto
Was a place I came to love
But it wasn’t that I loved being there
It was nature which drew me closer
To loving nature more and more






Anthony, you always
protected me as a younger brother
but you paid a heavy price
for something
I never asked you to do


Victor, from the beginning
you were in my life
you, the oldest
didn’t care much about your brothers
whom you thought should look up to you


I began loving flowers
of the vast meadows
I used to view
they shown like sunlight
buttercups glowing within


I never knew
As a young teenager
That I was living the Romantics
Of the English
Who wrote of nature, truth and love


Near the church steps
A silvery tree
With silver leaves
Romantics sometimes wrote of
I would come to know.


From the girls mansion
I could hear the tides
And watch the sea
Crashing on the shore
The sea so vast and beautiful.






The blizzards came
Blowing without pity
Across the meadows
So heavy  did the snow fall
There was no visibility


I would sometimes
Hear the thunder clap in the snow
When the snow kept falling
For the whole day and night
When I searched for a place to hide.


In the dark dormitories
Only the EXIT lights shown
A deep red
In which I used to gaze at
Till I fell asleep.


What was it about Eric
That he could love me more
Than my other brothers
When later in life I discovered
I looked after him at three years of age.


When it came time
To go away with strangers
At Christmas time
My brother Eric cried
Because he wasn’t going with me.


When my brothers
Got a little older
We were taken to the hospital
My mother was locked up in
While we sat outside waiting for our father.






Sometimes the rain
Falls against the window screen
Of the dormitory
Thunder and lighting cracked the night
And moonlight passed through.


I never knew you, Julia
It’s been so long we met
It must have caused you pain knowing
You  once had sons and a husband
Who left you to suffer alone


Late, tonight
The world is a dream of meadows
I used to stroll long ago
When you and mom were there
To hold my small hand.


The walls of this apartment
I now live in
Are like the walls, Julia
You came to know
While you gazed through window bars


Do you think, mom
That I have forgotten you
You cross my mind often
Enough to cause me sorrow
Which causes tears to flow


Twenty years ago
You told me you wanted to die
In a hospital
And not in the care of relatives
Who shunned you when you needed them most






You never knew  mother
How all of your sons died
Eric died in despair
Anthony of a broken heart
And one passed from cancer


I do not know now
How to make it up to you
The only son you have left
When your entire family has gone
Beyond invisible clouds


Now that we remain
Just you and I, mom
Lets make the best of it
For life can be very unfair
As it has been for all of us.


Did you know, Julie
What you told me about your husband
Marrying someone else
After putting you away to suffer
That I suffered along with you.


When I was young
I used to resent the fact
That you weren’t around for your sons
Never understanding
You couldn’t help what had happened to you.


I have come to know
The passing of seasons
The cold
The heat
And the pouring rain.






At one time
I was locked behind window bars
When I was just a teen
I learned what you went through
Back then I felt as you had felt.


When the grass withers
And the rose only leaves the thorns
This is the winter
When the thorns hold the snow
As life holds us in it’s heart.


Soon mom
You will wither as you are now
And I will grieve your passing
I’ll be left alone
To carry the burdens my family carried.


Only yesterday,
I found some joy in my heart
But soon went away
Taken by the winter winds
And buried  in the snow.


Spring 1961

I remember,
I only had two friends at the Mount
When I was a child
It hurt to see them adopted
And leave me behind in my grief.


Those winding roads
I walked so many times
Taught me to love nature
For what it was
And has led to heart-breaking grief.





Where have you gone
I’ve never had a better friend
Who taught me so much
Which made me into someone.


Rev. John Budwick
You knew my brothers well
You read their last rights by the sea
Where one was buried
In the early part of spring.


Remember, mom
When I wrote you a letter
And thanked you for giving me life
I meant what I wrote
Though the roads of the past were rocky.


I could still remember Eric
His blond hair and blue eyes
And his innocents
In his heart
And the conflicts he had within his mind.


I know at present, Julia
That you are denying you ever had sons
It’s just too painful for you
At the age you are now
And I am lost for love.


Tonight, the moonlight
Shines in the autumn night 
While I sit and write these poems
Many feelings touch my heart
And the paths lead many ways.






I left the Mount
To enter the Navy
During the Vietnam War
I wasn’t afraid at the time
And now I hide away writing


Fear is a great thing
If you think about it too much
That’s why I don’t
But keep my mind on other things
Which can free me from this life.


I haven’t seen you mother
For a very long time
But when I tried to
They sent me home
Without visitation rights.


I can now understand
Why I couldn’t stay to see you
They should have explained
That you were in denial
And I don’t know why they didn’t tell me.


The pines stand very high
And the pale moon is higher
Though the pines seem to reach
The stars and the moon
How beautiful tonight.


One night I dreamed
A good dream for once
It was a voice
Which came out of no where
Waking me up at seven in the morning.






I could never remember
Seeing a doctor so young in my life
Until I got the papers
From the Mount
And read my history.


This dim light
Brings you to me, love
A woman to hold tonight
In the dead of winter
Never having much love before.


I’m sure
God is watching over me
I’ve gone through enough
To hold the emotional strength
Of three men, but I can take anymore.


How could it be
I’ve made so many mistakes
And people tell me
I think I know it all
They don’t know me at all.


Everyone of my brothers
Is buried in different places
Just as we always were
Never together much
Even in death.









This coming spring
Will be a bad month for me
All my brothers went home
And left the flowers grieving
With drops of flowing rain.


How swift life passes
One day I’m young
Suddenly, I’m old
And infirmities set in
My spirit blowing with the dust.


There is enough wisdom
To set off a spark
Of neurotransmitters
Where many thoughts pass
And are remembered for a while.


At age five
I played in the playground
By myself
Wondering where my mother was
When I went and hugged a tree.


There are many country roads
Leading and winding through the woods
If you get lost while driving
There are signs to get you through
After some frustration.


There are many times
I’ve known roads and trees
And billions of tree leaves
Sprouting and falling
Falling and sprouting.







Winter 1981

I left the campus New Years Eve
I couldn’t be in more trouble
But over the years
I’ve survived it all
And now they want to send me home.


I still walk roads
Within my mind
Which has taken me
Down paths I didn’t want to take
And now, soon, it will be over.


Today the sunlight shines
Into this lonely room
I’ve come to know like a book
Where the walls stand tall
Against the white ceiling.


One day
Things will change for me
Hopefully in a good way
Which has left me wondering
If this will ever come to pass.


I know, mom
You know the walls I know
The walls which stand
In confinement
And the rain beats on the windows.


I’m not safe
Anywhere I go
It seems now
It doesn’t matter
How long the winter winds blow.





What flowers will sprout
Even for a day
Only to gaze into their loveliness
Which God has created
For viewing the beauty of life.


Are the words they speak real?
I sometimes wonder
What may be audio hallucinations
But I also know
The troubles which abound within.


I have been blessed
With good friends
Who care and know
What is going on with me
But many words are secretive.


Eric, how did you make it
Through the Navy for four years
During the war
I don’t think it was meant for you
Which only caused you inner conflicts.


Julia, Eric was brave
To join the service
But tragedy struck
Two years later
When he ended his life.


I wish I could
Make it up to you mom
But time is short
And here I am trying my best
To stay alive.






  All poems in Sometimes the Rain - Letters to my Mother
 Copyright Gerard John Conforti 2007.
Online Version  Copyright AHA Books 2007.

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