The Mother

golden slippers

For me, poetry has always been about conveying emotion, sharing experiences, and giving. It has rarely been about apologies unless that was the theme or message of the poem. However, in this instance I want to apologize beforehand in case this poem offends any of you; especially my loyal readers and followers. It is not my piece but it is my choice to post it. I thought a lot about it before ultimately deciding to post the poem because I knew that it was the perfect choice given that this is Women’s History Month. Gwendolyn Brooks’ “The Mother” is a complex love poem, full of regret and it is also a little graphic. I don’t think that this poem is really about abortion but about loss and the price of certain decisions. I think that there is a beauty in the haunted voice of the narrator. And that is what I wanted to share with all of you. Also, I want to wish you all a happy Read Across America Day!

The Mother

Abortions will not let you forget.
You remember the children you got that you did not get,
The damp small pulps with a little or with no hair,
The singers and workers that never handled the air.
You will never neglect or beat
Them, or silence or buy with a sweet.
You will never wind up the sucking-thumb
Or scuttle off ghosts that come.
You will never leave them, controlling your luscious sigh,
Return for a snack of them, with gobbling mother-eye.

I have heard in the voices of the wind the voices of my dim killed
children.
I have contracted. I have eased
My dim dears at the breasts they could never suck.
I have said, Sweets, if I sinned, if I seized
Your luck
And your lives from your unfinished reach,
If I stole your births and your names,
Your straight baby tears and your games,
Your stilted or lovely loves, your tumults, your marriages, aches,
and your deaths,
If I poisoned the beginnings of your breaths,
Believe that even in my deliberateness I was not deliberate.
Though why should I whine,
Whine that the crime was other than mine?–
Since anyhow you are dead.
Or rather, or instead,
You were never made.
But that too, I am afraid,
Is faulty: oh, what shall I say, how is the truth to be said?
You were born, you had body, you died.
It is just that you never giggled or planned or cried.

Believe me, I loved you all.
Believe me, I knew you, though faintly, and I loved, I loved you
All.

-Gwendolyn Brooks

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