The Maier Museum of Art
at Randolph College

“Missing My Mother” by LuAnn Keener-Mikenas

Theodore Clement Steele, Autumn Landscape, 1901, oil on canvas.

Theodore Clement Steele, Autumn Landscape, 1901, oil on canvas. Gift of Mrs. Patrice Gouvernayre (Betsy Paxton Gouvernayre ’71) in memory of her father, Dr. Thomas R. Paxton), 1980.

after Theodore Clement Steele’s Autumn Landscape


If I could call you back
to walk with me down this lane—
it might have looked just like this at home
when you were twenty:  the sand-colored
country road, maples flaming in the month
of your birth, white house down the way
flashing back the bright glance of sunrise,
azure slippered with lilac.  If I could grasp
your hand again, who are not
in this painting, that might have been
the one you would have picked–


its autumn orange just the color
of your wedding suit and tam . . . .  I brought them
back with me, another place you are not.
And yet (already I begin to know this)


you’re everywhere.  Now you can say
to any artist you choose, Paint me in.  So much light
you can splash it on everything.  So much peace,
and beauty quite an ordinary thing—how do we miss it?


A place where you might come to me,
a simple open road.



Dedicated to Mary Helen Keener, 1922-2005