Meeting Ground – Mother’s Day Edition
Written from, different angles and spaces, the poems below testify to the great force of motherhood, which nurtures, strengthens, and manifests love. Happy Mother’s Day – Ann-Margaret Lim
My mother loved words. Not necessarily
in sentences or speeches. Just words.
She read the dictionary like a bedside book.
She taught me words while I watched her
at the crossword puzzle, her relief
from drudgery. And now this
delectable, mouth-filling word
I cannot teach her: metastases,
“multiple metastases”. The word
glows a guilty secret through
the large brown envelope lying on
the back seat with the X-rays and
the radiologist’s report. She sits
rigid with pain, too proud to ask
if there is any word of relief.
In the silence between us
you can hear the metastases multiply.
Edward Baugh (Jamaica).
Black Sand: Peepal Tree Press (UK): 2013
I drift in a small craft
and write mother poems at sea.
She’s the flounder that escapes
my handmade fishing rod
so I weave a net at night
from the three memories I have of her.
And I’m just seeing it now – no, not
the picture of a dead Sylvia Plath
half out of the oven,
no, not that
but the similarity:
I write mother poems at sea,
drift and hope for her,
but then, my daughter –
Ann-Margaret Lim (Jamaica)
Kingston Buttercup: Peepal Tree Press (UK): 2016
A Portable Paradise
And if I speak of Paradise,
then I’m speaking of my grandmother
who told me to carry it always
on my person, concealed, so
no one else would know but me.
That way they can’t steal it, she’d say.
And if life puts you under pressure,
trace its ridges in your pocket,
smell its piney scent on your handkerchief,
hum its anthem under your breath.
And if your stresses are sustained and daily
get yourself to an empty room – be it hotel,
hostel or hovel – find a lamp
and empty your paradise onto a desk:
your white sands, green hills and fresh fish.
Shine the lamp on it like the fresh hope
of morning, and keep staring at it till you sleep.
Roger Robinson (Born in Trinidad & Tobago, lives in the UK)
A Portable Paradise: Peepal Tree Press (2019): Winner of T.S. Elliot Prize 2020 & Ondaatje Prize 2020