To a single mother of three

In celebration of mother’s day tomorrow, one could always compose a poem that praises the mother for the way she looks and dotes after her children, how she’s a source of comfort and reassurance in tough times, believes in us when others won’t, etc. Poems of praise like these can often make the mother appear more material than human, giving us an image of a perfect, cotton security blanket without any personal demons to ruffle its polished personality in the tumble washer of life. When this happens we lose sight of what a mother really is: hardworking, resilient, determined to give her children a  positive future, joyful and affectionate when we’re good, hard, but gracious, when we’re bad and above all, continually by our side.

This following poem celebrates the real mothers: singles and baby-mamas alone in the world, without male support, working 2-3 jobs and yet undaunted by their harsh reality. For while the days are tough, they are tougher.

For a mother of three

Dear resilient miss

 

This I address to Female, age 30,

offspring 3.

 

You live each night in the cell that is your

council flat kitchen; each day with the

warden that is your three jobs

 

You —

 

To whom I do concern —

 

Are shackled to your babies destinies;

the architect of a future that may be kind to them

and yet has been cruel to you

 

You —

 

Even while hiking up that Everest of bills with just a bible

and a prayer as your pick-ax and rope

 

Even while sailing on the edge of that bread-line waterfall

with each weeks’ paycheck,

 

Walk, head high.

 

Pressured and refined in the kiln of reality by that

boyish man’s retreat

 

Spurred on by your babies hungry cries

 

To you I salute as the first among women and the

greatest among breadwinners.

 

 

 

 

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