Ode to Third World Mothers
O mother mine, I need to ask.
kneading flour, rolling bread
hungry eyes watching you – watching your every move -
- I hope you feel proud, o mother.
Do you? o mother mine!
Feeding mouths he created
in your womb, created he.
Those watching eyes, hungry mouths,
never caring, never loving
Or did he?
O mother mine whither your voice!
Blowing life in a cold hearth
smoking logs, like smoldering desires
put out or under, did it matter ?
stoking logs for a flame that never was ignited?
O mother mine but do you know, Ambers wait under the soot.
But did he ever… did you ever?
I dare not ask.
Some mornings saw a tired figure
scrambling out of a monarch’s bed holding tight a torn slip, undone strings -
- tangled hair tying in a knot
reclaiming dignity’ in a child’s eyes – lost.
O night, stay dark, dark like soot
make no mistake
to show the child the tableau played every night.
Every night, after hungry mouths, watching eyes,
put to rest – pushed away – left alone – fend against the night,
for a hungry mouth, a watching eye
a tired womb?
O mother mine tell your child – assure your child -
- give the child a happy thought.
It was love – a loving touch? caring touch?
A soft whisper, sweet nothings
A loving smile, all love!
O mother mine assure the child you tasted life and more!
before the child was born!
When the flock had flown the hearth was cold.
Your pretty eyes lost the reflection of burning logs,
fading into nothingness.
No logs to kindle, no soot to stoke
monarch’s bed rolled and stored.
The child leaned,
And touched the tired, aching figure
O mama mine, did you ever
I mean ever
tasted love? loved some one, were you loved?
She looked at her child – looked long.
A grown woman, child no more
A thinking mind, the owner of her destiny own
and thought about the question, long.
Thought about the lonely nights
monarch’s bed, hungry eyes – hungry eye
drooling mouths – drooling mouth
“hush ” she opened her long sealed lips
touched her daughter’s head.
” Hush child,
you ask too much.”
By Riffat Murtaza
(On Mothers Day)