Poetry Sunday: Women by Alice Walker

Alice Walker wrote this poem in honor of her mother and other African-American mothers of that generation who worked and struggled and fought to give their children opportunities that they had never had. But it could apply equally to mothers of any race, such as my own mother, who did everything they could to ensure that their children had a better, easier life than they had had. In the end, most mothers do the best they can to make their children's lives better than their own. Sometimes they succeed, but they almost never feel that it was enough.

Mothers Day is coming up. Consider this a pre-Mothers Day bouquet for all of you mothers who do your best.

Women

by Alice Walker

They were women then
My mama's generation
Husky of voice - stout of
Step
With fists as well as
Hands
How they battered down
Doors
And ironed
Starched white
Shirts
How they led
Armies

Headragged generals
Across mined
Fields
Booby-trapped
Ditches
To discover books
Desks
A place for us
How they knew what
we
Must know
Without knowing a page
Of it
Themselves.

Comments

  1. Replies
    1. It's a good one. Says a lot in a few words and one long sentence.

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  2. And on top of the challenges of motherhood, women such as Alice Walker had to deal with, and suffered from, systematic and unrelenting discrimination. To succeed as a mother is a great achievement, to succeed under conditions of oppressive racism even more so. Thanks for sharing this poem, Dorothy.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yes, we do our best. We do our best.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Amazing what those women did with their intelligence as one of the few weapons they had. Even more amazing is what the children they raised accomplished.

    ReplyDelete

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