Black Motherhood, Conjure and Poetry

Wallpaper created for A Country Journal of a Blackwoman(Northumberland)

I recently talked about the coming of April and how more poetry would be appearing on here as I attempt to ‘play with words’.

You can not imagine the delight as well as confirmation I received this morning while reading an article for the commissioned essay I’m writing at the moment around (Black) Motherhood.

A bone of contention with me is when I see the words ‘mother’ and ‘motherhood’, even though I have birthed children, I do not see these terms applied to me. ‘Mother’ and ‘motherhood’ come with the connotations of white and whiteness for me.

Test it yourself. Be honest. When I first mentioned ‘mother’, what image came to mind for you? If not a white woman and child. I’ve seen image after image of the idea of motherhood, the natural beauty of ‘The mother’ and nine times out of ten the image is of a white woman and child. As if a Black woman is not/ cannot be seen as a mother, even though a Black woman is the source of the whole human race. Go look that one up!

Anyway, I’m going off topic here ( but not in terms of the hybrid essay I’m writing for the forthcoming special Demeter Press collection, The Mother Wave: Matricentric Feminism as Theory, Activism, and Practice (2023)).

Reading this article this morning, ‘ Conjuring the Ghost: A Call and Response to Haints’ by drea brown, there is a mention of poetry lying in the body, coming from that dark place within where our true spirits lies hidden and growing, argues Audre Lorde. But poetry is also our way, Black people’s way, or theorising and making sense of things. Through our stories, narratives, riddles, poetry; playing with words and language, we not only gain an understanding and reimagining of our lives but these are also tools of surviving.

As Black women, speaking from my lived- experience here, through our creativity, through our playing with language in such a spirited way, we enter in the process of not just theorising and strategising but also self-making and through this practice passing this on to others. Passing on this power to others. It’s what we do, have been doing through time. Starting with the mothering we do of ours and others babies

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