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Poetry for our Mothers from throughout the ages...

"Here rise to life again, dead poetry! Let it, O holy Muses, for I am yours, And here Calliope, strike a higher key, Accompanying my song with that sweet air which made the wretched Magpies feel a blow that turned all hope of pardon to despair." (Dante, Purgatorio, Canto I,l.7 to 12)

Mother and Her Child
Vintage Arts - Curio

In honor of the Women that brought our spirits' placement in the world, our mother's are given this special day when in fact they should be rightfully given an entire month of gratitude, a year of flowers and candy and a lifetime of homage from us her children who sometimes and oftentimes out of the natural order of things place all of our selfish needs upon her and she, in the blessing and curse of that one unique unconditional love would always without fail, rise to our every call for her... poetry for mothers from throughout the ages.

"There was a certain thing I did not get from my mother. There is a lack, a gap, a void. But in its place, she has given me something else. Something, I would argue, that is far more valuable. She has given me the way out."

~ Alison Bechdel from "Are You My Mother?"

I Write My Mother a Poem

by Walt Whitman

Sometimes I feel her easing further into her grave,

resigned, as always, and I have to come to her rescue.

Like now, when I have so much else to do. Not that

she'd want a poem. She would have been proud, of course,

of all its mystery, involving her, but scared a little.

Her eyes would have filled with tears. It always comes

to that, I don't know why I bother. One gesture

and she's gone down a well of raw feeling, and I'm left

alone again. I avert my eyes, to keep from scaring her.

On her dresser is one of those old glass bottles

of Jergen's Lotion with the black label, a little round

bottle of Mum deodorant, a white plastic tray

with Avon necklaces and earrings, pennies, paper clips,

and a large black coat button. I appear to be very

interested in these objects, even interested in the sun

through the blinds. It falls across her face, and not,

as she changes the bed. She would rather have clean sheets

than my poem, but as long as I don't bother her, she's glad

to know I care. She's talked my father into taking

a drive later, stopping for an A & W root beer.

She is dreaming of foam on the glass, the tray propped

on the car window. And trees, farmhouses, the expanse

of the world as seen from inside the car. It is no

use to try to get her out to watch airplanes

take off, or walk a trail, or hear this poem

and offer anything more than "Isn't that sweet!"

Right now bombs are exploding in Kosovo, students

shot in Colorado, and my mother is wearing a root beer

mustache. Her eyes are unfocused, everything's root beer.

I write root beer, root beer, to make her happy.

(first published in The Southern Review, 36 [2000])

by Walt Whitman |

To My Mother

Edgar Allan Poe, 1809 - 1849

Because I feel that, in the Heavens above,

The angels, whispering to one another,

Can find, among their burning terms of love,

None so devotional as that of “Mother,"

Therefore by that dear name I long have called you—

You who are more than mother unto me,

And fill my heart of hearts, where Death installed you

In setting my Virginia’s spirit free.

My mother—my own mother, who died early,

Was but the mother of myself; but you

Are mother to the one I loved so dearly,

And thus are dearer than the mother I knew

By that infinity with which my wife

Was dearer to my soul than its soul-life.

To My Mother

~by Robert Louis Stevenson

1850 - 1894

You too, my mother, read my rhymes

For love of unforgotten times,

And you may chance to hear once more

The little feet along the floor.

Haiku (Senryu) ~ Happiness

Mother looking at

baby in her bosom

happiness molded

My Dear Mother

© Eric L. Harris

Sometimes I wish that I were back at home,

In the loving arms that held me strong.

To reassure my safety, my peace, my soul;

To let me know that everything was okay, that you were in control.

But reality has set in, my course is now set;

Guided by your love, making no move that I would regret.

You hath raised me, raised a man, a man of values indeed.

Your instructions on life I live by and have learned to take heed.

Obedience is therefore greater than any sacrifice I can make,

And I'd rather die horrifically, than your heart at any time I break.

Love you, yes indeed, far greater than any other.

A lady of profound beauty and wisdom, but above all MY MOTHER.

To My Mother

Christina Rossetti

1830 - 1894

To-day’s your natal day;

Sweet flowers I bring:

Mother, accept, I pray

My offering.

And may you happy live,

And long us bless;

Receiving as you give

Great happiness.

The Women Who Loved Elvis All Their Lives

~ by: Fleda Brown

She reads, of course, what he's doing, shaking Nixon's hand,

dating this starlet or that, while he is faithful to her

like a stone in her belly, like the actual love child,

its bills and diapers. Once he had kissed her

and time had stood still, at least some point seems to

remain back there as a place to return to, to wait for.

What is she waiting for? He will not marry her, nor will he

stop very often. Desireé will grow up to say her father is dead.

Desireé will imagine him standing on a timeless street,

hungry for his child. She will wait for him, not in the original,

but in a gesture copied to whatever lover she takes.

He will fracture and change to landscape, to the Pope, maybe,

or President Kennedy, or to a pain that darkens her eyes.

"Once," she will say, as if she remembers,

and the memory will stick like a fishbone. She knows

how easily she will comply when a man puts his hand

on the back of her neck and gently steers her.

She knows how long she will wait for rescue, how the world

will go on expanding outside. She will see her mother's photo

of Elvis shaking hands with Nixon, the terrifying conjunction.

A whole war with Asia will begin slowly,

in her lifetime, out of such irreconcilable urges.

The Pill will become available to the general public,

starting up a new waiting in that other depth.

The egg will have to keep believing in its timeless moment

of completion without any proof except in the longing

of its own body. Maris will break Babe Ruth's record

while Orbison will have his first major hit with

"Only the Lonely," trying his best to sound like Elvis.

© 1999, Fleda Brown

(first published in The Iowa Review, 29 [1999])

Morning Song

~ by: Sylvia Plath

Love set you going like a fat gold watch.

The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry

Took its place among the elements.

Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue.

In a drafty museum, your nakedness

Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls.

I'm no more your mother

Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow

Effacement at the wind's hand.

All night your moth-breath

Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen:

A far sea moves in my ear.

One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral

In my Victorian nightgown.

Your mouth opens clean as a cat's. The window square

Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try

Your handful of notes;

The clear vowels rise like balloons.


"Dear Mama"

(You are appreciated)

~ by Tupac Shakur

When I was young me and my mama had beef

Seventeen years old kicked out on the streets

Though back at the time, I never thought I'd see her face

Ain't a woman alive that could take my mama's place

Suspended from school; and scared to go home, I was a fool

with the big boys, breakin all the rules

I shed tears with my baby sister

Over the years we was poorer than the other little kids

And even though we had different daddy's, the same drama

When things went wrong we'd blame mama

I reminice on the stress I caused, it was hell

Huggin on my mama from a jail cell

And who'd think in elementary?

Heeey! I see the penitentiary, one day

And runnin from the police, that's right

Mama catch me, put a whoopin to my backside

And even as a crack fiend, mama

You always was a black queen, mama

I finally understand

for a woman it ain't easy tryin to raise a man

You always was committed

A poor single mother on welfare, tell me how ya did it

There's no way I can pay you back

But the plan is to show you that I understand

You are appreciated


Don't cha know we love ya? Sweet lady

Dear mama

Place no one above ya, sweet lady

You are appreciated

Don't cha know we love ya?

Now ain't nobody tell us it was fair

No love from my daddy cause the coward wasn't there

He passed away and I didn't cry, cause my anger

wouldn't let me feel for a stranger

They say I'm wrong and I'm heartless, but all along

I was lookin for a father he was gone

I hung around with the Thugs, and even though they sold drugs

They showed a young brother love

I moved out and started really hangin

I needed money of my own so I started slangin

I ain't guilty cause, even though I sell rocks

It feels good puttin money in your mailbox

I love payin rent when the rent's due

I hope ya got the diamond necklace that I sent to you

Cause when I was low you was there for me

And never left me alone because you cared for me

And I could see you comin home after work late

You're in the kitchen tryin to fix us a hot plate

Ya just workin with the scraps you was given

And mama made miracles every Thanksgivin

But now the road got rough, you're alone

You're tryin to raise two bad kids on your own

And there's no way I can pay you back

But my plan is to show you that I understand

You are appreciated

Pour out some liquor and I reminsce, cause through the drama

I can always depend on my mama

And when it seems that I'm hopeless

You say the words that can get me back in focus

When I was sick as a little kid

To keep me happy there's no limit to the things you did

And all my childhood memories

Are full of all the sweet things you did for me

And even though I act craaazy

I gotta thank the Lord that you made me

There are no words that can express how I feel

You never kept a secret, always stayed real

And I appreciate, how you raised me

And all the extra love that you gave me

I wish I could take the pain away

If you can make it through the night there's a brighter day

Everything will be alright if ya hold on

It's a struggle everyday, gotta roll on

And there's no way I can pay you back

But my plan is to show you that I understand

You are appreciated

Dark Mother

~by Bianca Smith at 7 years old

to Yvonne de la Vega

Dark Mother is drinking fine water

she bows her head to drink

it casts a shadow upon her face

it makes me find her sad

She looks and seems so beautiful

I'll bet she can't hide it.

When you are laying in your bed

you look and seem so dark

I want to say I love you

I hear your name and call you

Dark Mother.

I am sometimes you

even when I'm not near you

in the dar I often hear you

and I call to you,
"Dark Mother..."

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