Commentary: years ago I wrote a poem titled ‘ i am becoming my mother’. I think it’s in my first full collection Family Album, Flambard Press 2011.
A few weeks ago while attending one of my late night across the Atlantic poetry group workshops, I had an inkling to revisit this poem with the intention of bringing it up to date. To try and incorporate all the ‘Sherees’ that have developed, spored since the first poem, since my mum’s death and teachings have passed into decades gone by.
So I created this piece. Same title but definitely more expansive.
i am becoming my mother
Dehumanising the Black woman. Mammy, Jezebel, Sapphire, Bitch.
The black woman is seen as one dimensional; the mule of the world, carrying the heavy burden of mothering all others except her own.
Her own children are lost; lost to the auction block, the ocean, the noose.
A Black woman is a source of strength and love. Passing on power as well as pain.
Her body carries stories, carries histories, carries an archive.
as a black woman,
resting deep within the meadow,
held in softness,
grass tickling shins,
dress billowing about
is a political act.