This poem was born of a phrase I heard in a coffee shop, while waiting for a friend. College students gather in this coffee shop to study or to chat. Sometimes, I get to eavesdrop on some inspiring conversations.
This particular afternoon, I sat close to a very angry girl who was talking badly about her mother. The friend was patiently listening; all of a sudden she put her coffee cup down and spoke, ?I?ve known your mom since we were in Grammar school, she is a really nice lady.? She paused but before the other girl could say anything she spoke again, ?Your mom is quiet, shy and didn?t have the opportunity to go to college, but that doesn?t mean that you should put her down.?
The girl ignored her friend?s comments and continued ragging on her mom, complaining that she was completely invisible. People simply didn?t care for her and ignored her presence because she had no personality, no conversation.
Her friend smiled and told her, ?Be careful stomping on your mom?s image, it could be your own someday.? At this point she got up as if to say, I have had enough of your conversation. They left and I stayed with my thoughts.
I wrote the poem from the point of view of a baby girl forming a bond with her mother at breastfeeding time. In the first part of the poem the baby acknowledges her mother?s invisibility.
Once upon a time, when her mother was young and beautiful, the world noticed the exuberance of her youth and beauty. Once that was gone, the world forgot all about her. However, if she had been scandalous, had a loud mouth or done something notorious to leave her mark, according to the baby?s perspective, things would have been different.
In the second part, the baby reminds her mother, she, the baby girl represents a new beginning. She is drinking from her breast the life giving milk and is the sole heiress of her traits. She will make sure things are different and through her, the mom would see what she could have been. In the renewal cycle, her mom will find out, her daughter is capable of much more than she ever was. The baby will make sure the world will notice her presence, she will not be ignored.
The mom braided her hair with colorful ribbons but colors fade just like youth. The daughter therefore, will braid her hair with silk. She will renew her mother?s memories and dreams but she plans to fare better than her. In her inexperience, she forgets that silk is very fragile and time is so ephemeral.
The crowd on Main Street
is oblivious to your presence
Were you to feed
gluttonous clouds, delay
rain or carelessly
walk with death
Perhaps the crowd on Main Street
would look again and notice,
you were once the girl
in the golden mirror,
braided in your hair
Past memories seek renewal
like the fallen leaves of an old tree
that refuse to die
A tiny image reflects in your brown eyes,
a new beginning suckles sweet milk
from your breasts, on a hot Summer?s Day
lays in your arms
new hands to weave braids
with the silk ribbons of time
the crowd on Main Street
will acknowledge my presence
Past memories will be renewed
and green leaves will dress
the branches of the old tree once more