Tue | May 17, 2022

In honour of mothers

Published:Sunday | May 8, 2022 | 12:11 AM
Richard Georges
Richard Georges
Ann Margaret Lim
Ann Margaret Lim

A mother covers her child’s head with a cloth to protect from the sun on a hot and sunny day.
A mother covers her child’s head with a cloth to protect from the sun on a hot and sunny day.
Maria Juarez, a Guatemalan mother from San Marcos picks up one of her children and the child of another worker at the Redlands Christian Migrant Association’s Rollason Child Development Center in Immokalee, Fl.
Maria Juarez, a Guatemalan mother from San Marcos picks up one of her children and the child of another worker at the Redlands Christian Migrant Association’s Rollason Child Development Center in Immokalee, Fl.
Erika Heslop Martin
Erika Heslop Martin
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Today, May 8, we recognise, honour and celebrate mothers – those who have given birth, nurtured and those who have raised a whole village. In spite of their trials and tribulations, they keep a happy face, provide for , nd protect their children. As an unknown author said: “A mother is your first friend, your best friend, your forever friend.”

Genealogies

Do not tell me a thing does not do what

it does– that these chains (now plated in gold)

are no longer chains, or that from above

the clouds no longer look like drowned bodies

washed ashore in the rolling surf.

I must

go to my mother to learn the real names

of the gorgeous objects in this greened world,

of the beauties that can drive the body

to exhale its life in one purpling sigh,

the body that is a precarious house,

assembled in this world but out of time.

But I can no longer trust my mother’s

histories. They are not the taut suspensions

my adolescent mind thought them to be.

The blue-black body breaks at its closures,

twisting in a dancing double helix

dripping blood and amazement.

We will be.

Home soon. Bowls filled with brown oxtail and broad

beans. At the food stand, an umber dog floats

through the crowd like a leaf.

Richard Georges: US Virgin Islands: Epihanea Outspoken Press :2019

Richard Georges is Poet Laureate of the US Virgin Islands. His book, Epihanea , was awarded the 2020 Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature. His first book, Make Us All Islands , (2017), was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, and his second book, Giant (2018), was highly commended by the Forward Prize.

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The Tide

A tide looms in me

surging since I last saw you, mother —

a decade, upon decades ago

so I built a seawall

to guard against it

and those like you, who leave.

Then, one day, you floated up alive

mother

but still in that lost country.

Now, you’re the moon

and the tide that looms

ebbs and flows, dependent on you.

If you’re blue

I’ll hear it in your voice

and house a dangerously high tide.

The night of the first three-way phone call

— mother, daughter, daughter

was a new moon night — the tide so high

my tongue swollen numb. I was dumb

so I sat on the bench and watched

a brood of hens tripping over each other.

Mother, you ask if I remember

being bitten by my sister. I don’t.

Another memory lost to the tide.

You pull me mother, being the moon

yet, I hear the whirlpool of the night sea

in the moan of your voice.

It is a sound I know, mother

for I have been home to a foraging tide

since the day I knew those you love leave you behind.

Will it ever subside

mother? What will happen when we meet again

— a war of tides, a tidal wave?

Till then, the tide looms:

it broods:

it moans, mother.

Ann-Margaret Lim: Jamaica

The poem above was first published in the Stand Magazine , UK: January-March, 2022 Edition), guest edited by Shara McCallum and Malika Booker

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Dear Mother

Mother, you are wonderful.

A marvelous member of the family of God,

That’s who you are.

Like lilies in the garden, you beautify our lives.

You are a blessing.

You are an inspiration.

From the very beginning you loved me and nurtured me.

You protected me instinctively.

For nine long months you kept me warm inside of you.

For nine long months you told me all your secrets.

For nine long months you gave me your all.

Mother, you are beautiful.

You are kind.

I love you for loving me.

My love for you extends beyond outer space.

My love for you shines brighter than the stars at night.

My love for you cannot be extinguished.

Mother, you are strong.

You have endured so much for me.

You have molded and shaped me into who I am today.

You are my super woman, my wonder woman,

My guardian angel.

You are the essence of my strength.

Mother, you are great.

I admire you.

I appreciate you more and more each second,

Each minute and each hour of every day.

For everything that you have done for me,

You never asked me to pay.

You are the cherry on my pie.

You are the sugar in my lemonade.

For you I am grateful.

You are the butter on my bread,

And the ketchup on my chicken.

But, on you I would never put any form of tax.

You are important, you are needed, you are essential.

You are significant to my existence.

Like salt, you are the flavour of my life.

Mother, I am forever yours.

You are forever mine.

You are always in my heart.

In my success and happiness, you have played your part.

I celebrate you.

I dedicate my love to you.

Mother, from the core of my heart,

I declare my love to you.

Oh mother, dear mother, I love you.

- Erika Heslop Martin