Mother’s Day

The first poem is mine and the second one is a translation of Camara Laye’s poem: “A Ma Mere”

Education of An African Woman

I am an African Woman

Cradled at birth by rough yet motherly hands,

I was sunbathed and suncolored

from sweet brown to dark chocolate

I am African woman,

full lips, full hips, gazelle eyes, killer smile

they asked if God took special interest in making me

but I laugh and say

I got it from my mama

I learned it from my mama

To bend one knee and hold my saluting arm

I learned from my mama

to lower my eyes, bat my

eyebrows when the lover’s eye fall on me

I learned to work from sunrise to sundown

to sweep, clean and cook

to sweep, clean and cook

to sweep, clean and cook

to work on the field  and on school papers

I learned from my mama to carry your baby on your back

and hope in return they will carry you on their back

I didn’t learn from my mama that no one will see my worth

unless they get hit by lightning

but I did learn from my mama

beauty is a curse

and my enemies will think me a witch

beauty is a prize

and men drop their lower lips when I walk by

beauty is a flower

but I wanted it to be eternal

when I was young

my brother thought he was better than me

when I got married

my husband thought he was better than me

when I had a boy

my son thought he was better than me

9 months to carry men

a lifetime to be despised by them

but once in a while you see a young man lift the veil

and claim that woman are not for sale.

Black woman, African woman, O my mother I think of you …

Daman O, O my mother, you who 
carried me on the back, you who fed me,
You who govern my first steps,
you who first opened my eyes
the wonders of the earth, I think of you …

Woman in the fields, rivers woman, wife of the great river,
O thou, my mother, I think of you …

Daman O thou, O my mother, you who
wiped my tears, you who makes
 the heart rejoice, you who
patiently endured my quirks,
I would still like to be near you, being a child near you …

O Daman, Daman of the great
family of blacksmiths, my thoughts
always turn to you, yours
at every step with me, O
Daman, my mother, as I
still be in your warmth, be
child close to you …

Black woman, African woman, O
you, my mother, thank you, thank you for everything
what you did for me, your son, if
away, so close to you!


					
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3 thoughts on “Mother’s Day

  1. I like your poem very much…oddly it mirrors a recurring dream I’ve been having lately. It’s reassuring when dreams are answered by the sunlight streaming through the open window and the words of poets and daughters. Thank you!

  2. Your poem is extremely powerful, especially those last sentences. I find it deeply moving and exquisitely expressed.

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