Pat Seman

There are always things that lie hidden,
buried deep in the bed rock of the past,
shunned and thickened with shame
into a shell impossible to prise open,
enclosing the tender mollusc that converts
every invasion, every grain of grit
from the rough pressing world,
into a hard and shining lining, a membrane
of mirrors of shifting, treacherous beauty,
a life-time’s creation, a lifetime’s frustration
pressed layer upon layer, strata of memories
that will not yield their secret, guardian
of the essence, the incandescent pearl,
                      my mother
         clamped tight in her shell.