A woman-child only sixteen
not yet married six months
gave birth to a boy-child
is now a mother.
Holding babe to breast and the milk of life
while in a foreign place exiled from family
into a riotous place tangled and tumultuous
being mothered and smothered in
sweaty and musky closeness
is now, again, a child.
A woman-child, a mother-child
And he left her for military service
for the glamour of the big gun
left her in his mother’s care
alone in the crowd
to give birth to yet another son.
And he returned to a hero’s welcome
returned to act the man, the husband
and she moved in with him
and is now, wife-child.
And who is mother while this woman-child
this mother-child, this wife-child
has eyes and focus on this hero?
And the first born wanders lost and frightened
through the world of the feminine
asking, “Are you my mother?”
This is a difficult subject to bring up, that of mothers. As you can probably guess, this is my story, the story of my mother. She was a young and vibrant teenager who fell under the spell of "Tristan and Isolde" when she met my father. This makes for a powerful love tale. However, it wasn't a good time, it was an interesting time. She lost her rights to her parents' home and went to live with her husband's parents while he went off to Korea. When he came home, the spell was still upon her and the offspring continued to arrive with little delay. I was the first born and have wrestled with being motherless, with taking on the role of mother to my younger siblings as I got a bit older. Yet for all that, I have no anger. I willingly spend time with this woman and guard the sadness in knowing she never got to know her first child.