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Like a Mother (not a hearts and flowers poem)

There are far too many people missing, not able to bury, not able to become the mothers they may hope to, to just add another “hearts and flowers” Mother’s Day message. I miss my own, and I am fortunate enough to be a mom, yet it hasn’t been easy and has thus brought forth some art from the strife. So this is my offering during a time of great challenge. And compassion to those who can’t relate to the holiday. May those able to celebrate their mom, grandmothers, children, may you be filled with joy to share each and every day, and if this day helps you to feel special, then that is wonderful. And for those who don’t fit into that category, here is my poem, written at the turn of the century (not sure why I love to say that, but I do … )


I feel like a mother

when I cut the crust off your sandwich bread

careful to leave enough to hold some carefully planned nutrition

My heart is full when we talk together about spirit 

curled under your feathery purple and red blankets

and a drooping white canopy 

with the only fear being that you will soon figure out 

what my unfulfilled longings are

before I do

I can hardly bear it when you are mean or quick to those who love you the most

It’s like seeing an old movie about myself that I should have walked out on

I feel pride when you leap into life with passion

and hunger to read and write to the rest of us

and instantly grasp the things

it took me more than forty years to figure out

I anguish that evil must be explained

before it explains itself and shatters the balance

of fear and knowing

I never cared for trading your sleep for mine

Only saw pain in the challenge to create energy from sleeplessness

making sleep more valuable than it deserves to be

I do miss having you at my breast

those peaceful brown eyes

wide and full as your mouth

I am not like my mother

perhaps more like hers but with more of a fight

I will continue to scribe the changes

and feed you with my power

and fruits of the earth

lend a hand to the new world, the millennium

with a sword of truth and a lifetime of poetry

ballads sung with the thrill of creation

love thick and bittersweet

with a promise 

to keep the light on  

– Debra L. Alt, “Like a Mother”, 1999




This Post Has One Comment

  1. Thanks, Deb, for exploring the complexities of motherhood in words and song. Peace. Namaste.

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