• Vol. 05
  • Chapter 07
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Mother and child

Rest your gaze on the angel in the parlour
the household madonna in her allotted role.
Carer, source of all nurture; painted into a corner.

A deity of small tasks: hemmer of handkerchiefs,
wiper of tears and noses, washer of baby-creases
and barely formed toes.

See, her head bowed - demure mother.
Days bound by chores. Days spent kowtowing
to the demands of young children.

Don’t look here for small acts of rebellion
- she is too tired, too trapped
inside these flowered rooms.

If she is dreaming of her own crushed ambitions
she keeps her eyes downcast
keeps her thoughts hidden.

And the child? Already inducted into the cult,
she learns daily the fate of all women.
She seems docile, but looks sullen.

Maybe her mother will whisper to her
fairy tales of emancipation.
Maybe the child will break the mould.