Margaret S. Grande

Dec 14, 1926 - Nov 05, 2022

A Poem for Mom (Margaret S. Grande – nee Pagan)

Always remembering
The cyclotron in Colombo
Motorcyclist with goggles
Circling and rising

In a cylinder of wood
Til the sheer momentum
Kept him horizontal

You had a momentum

All your own

Linked to nature
And Roller skating in Nuwara Eliya
Near the old hotel
You reading Eloise in Moscow
In this special time

So brief the time we shared

That each of us shares with others

And always your wood clogs
Crushing cans in Oslo and gardening

The  sheer wit
Of the distance you kept and
Canny ways of seeing
Through it all

And that photo of you
Young and long haired
In winter in Montreal

Toque and scarf
Out there in the white winter cold
but  smiling nonetheless

Ways of being

I walk the mountain
Mount Royal
remembering how you
Split the tram ticket
So your friend could travel  downtown

Or how Oscar Peterson
Would walk ahead of you in
the snow after school
wearing his tight mustard yellow jacket
Or play piano tunes at lunch time
at Montreal High

Your uncle who had
An industrial accident
Steel beam hit his head
And could never work again
No workers’ compensation back then
he learned to sing instead

Or your dad Bob Pagan
Carving rubber in the depression
To make a washer
For the plumbing

Locked out
in the shed
Backyard in Montreal’s east end

You made your own world
from whatever home was

You caught Marlon Brando in
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
In New York
when they rolled out the
Streets on Long Island’s latest
suburbs where you lived then

Or Charlottenburg in Berlin
All Biedermeier and dark wood panelling
When Dad offered you
Opera glasses
And you refused
Cause you needed
Dishes instead

Or Kolonaki Square in Athens
at a time when you danced with

Rene Levesque that flirt
General Patton’s assistant
And gave Canadian wool sweaters to the
Refugees in Albania

It was so hard
Wasn’t it?
To realize a life
When your life
had few choices
A conscript of diplomacy
Your children farmed out
To different countries
put away

So to Speak

Managing the

cocktail parties and dinners
With hardly a moment
to be with yourself


Rocks and earth
Scrape the bottom
of the old VW
In spring
On the way to the family
cottage at Lac Bonin near

St Pierre de Wakefield

in the Gatineau


You made good at the Red Cross

As their long term co-ordinator

And that’s

The way we remember
All those things… even now

Time’s a great

With love fragments

In the big mix

A little bit of everything



  • John K Grande


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