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    Mary Cassatt, A Goodnight Hug, detail, 1880

    Poems for Mother’s Day

    By Jane Tyson Clement

    May 14, 2023

    Available languages: Español


    From No One Can Stem The Tide.


    Mother of sorrows, look upon me now.
    There is a heart within my heart, and eyes
    within my eyes; oh, say upon my brow
    some measure of your certain blessing lies.
    Soon enough this pulse will beat alone,
    new and unsure within a stranger land,
    sharing the exile of our flesh and bone,
    watching for sign of some uplifted Hand.
    Grant me your grace now to be unafraid,
    instill within me music and some peace
    so that upon the child there will be laid
    already joy before it seeks release,
    so that its share of breath is full of light
    and will be rich and strong before the night.

    To My Unborn Child

    I carry life or death within me;
    this little stirring, blind and pushing creature
    is the sweet paradox
    weighing me down with either joy
    or sorrow.

    Teach me, my little one, the slow acceptance,
    whether death or life is borne within me.

    I am in God’s hands, and you
    in God’s hands
    through me –
    all of it God’s: the light, the dark,
    the winter,
    and this wild, petal-drifting,
    sun-dazed May.


    chalk illustration of a mother hugging her child

    Mary Cassatt, Mother and Child (A Goodnight Hug)

    Child, Though I Take Your Hand

    Child, though I take your hand
    and walk in the snow;
    though we follow the track of the mouse together,
    though we try to unlock together the mystery
    of the printed word, and slowly discover
    why two and three make five
    always, in an uncertain world –

    child, though I am meant to teach you much,
    what is it, in the end,
    except that together we are
    meant to be children
    of the same Father
    and I must unlearn
    all the adult structure
    and the cumbering years

    and you must teach me
    to look at the earth and the heaven
    with your fresh wonder.

    The Children

    They are not mine, they are not really mine,
    not even in the night when they cry out,
    and I, half-stifled with the need of sleep,
    stumble awake and go to quiet them.

    Not by my grace or genius have they grown,
    nor by my merit did I bring them forth,
    nor by that sealed and deep-loved partnership;
    the light that crowns them is none of my own.

    And in my tempers and my discontents
    when my own devil mutters and is bad,
    I must remember still they are not mine,
    not even to deny – but wholly thine.

    Contributed By JaneTysonClement Jane Tyson Clement

    Jane Tyson Clement (1917–2000) was a poet, author, and playwright.

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