Today’s offering comes from Jamaican poet Lorna Goodison. I am currently reading I Am Becoming My Mother, her second collection of poetry. I struggled with the decision over which poem to share. I would have been satisfied with any poem in the book, but was literally torn when it came to works like “Guinea Woman,” “We Are the Women,” and “Garden of the Women Once Fallen.” I was driving myself crazy, so I decided on the one below on the basis that it is the title poem.
“I Am Becoming My Mother” by Lorna Goodison
fingers smelling always of onion
My mother raises rare blooms
and waters them with tea
her birth waters sang like rivers
my mother is now me
My mother had a linen dress
the colour of sky
and stored lace and damask
to pull shame out of her eye.
I am becoming my mother
fingers smelling always of onions.
I am drawn to Goodison’s writing for a few reasons. Among them the cadence that makes me want to sing rather than just read the words and her masterful use of imagery, which makes the ordinary deeply striking.
About the image: The postcard above came from my swap-bot pal, EricB. I was randomly selected to receive this postcard via a giveaway on Instagram. Yay, me! The postcard was designed by Lou Papers, and was bedecked with even more flowers on the back.