Mother has been tired for as long as I can remember,
Her cupboards always bare.
She wakes alone in a painted house crying
As dawn breaks across her face.
She sleeps with tired dreams
In tired dwellings among the trees
Reaching forward for the past
Walking through dusty rooms that have longs-since been useless.
Mother took down all the pictures one day
And tried to paint her walls
With lines and streaks of beige
In her unsteady hand.
Proud of her work she rolled down her sleeves
And smiled at me
And went again to sleep.
When I lived with her in the painted house
She sang me songs of flowers and soldiers and walks in the rain
Of tiny chapels on foreign plains,
In a quivering voice
That still echoes in the night,
The distant voice of the evening train.