Happy Friday one and all. This week’s Friday Poem is an exploration of the significance and power of motherhood, taken from Carolyn Jess-Cooke’s collection, Boom!, as a little early celebration of Mother’s Day this coming Sunday.
‘Becoming a mother changed me in every single way,’ says the author, ‘my first child – born in October 2006 – just about knocked me sideways. There were many reasons for this, but here’s the biggest one: I could not believe how public and political the (hugely personal) experience of motherhood was.’
Jess-Cooke found, as many parents do, that the juggling act required to raise young children and continue a professional and creative life, is both exhausting and fulfilling. Viewing motherhood from a multiplicity of artful angles, the author says, ‘Coupled with all this was the love I had for my children. It completely and utterly blew me away, how much I could love another human being.’
When a girl becomes a mother there is no fanfare.
No government re-elections, no erupting volcanoes.
The baby mops up the praise. But quietly
there are earthquakes, realigning planets.
When you ask to hold her newborn you are
addressing someone who just became a tiger,
so be careful.When she soothes the child that has
shrieked for three hours she is the Matador,
sunlit with relief. Sometimes, at around 2am,
she is the only woman ever to have given birth.
At the supermarket she is a calm strong oak
dragging a thrashing child past the strawberries.
At the school gates she’s autumn weeping leaves
of every hue for the loss of summer. Often
she spies the girl she once was and thinks, wimp.
Like grass trees after fire, like crops in new weather,
like a river clasping different water, there is
no fanfare when a girl becomes a mother.