A mother on raising sons.

My first was stillborn,

My cries carried across the fields on the cusp of a winter storm

The snow lay thick on the ground,

I lay like a mewling ewe and cradled her in my arms

Before the long walk home.


There were others, each swelling of my belly a signal of his pervasive masculinity.

Three brothers followed by a changeling child and so we were cast aside forced to live as outcasts

I moved boulders and stones and tilled the soil, back-breaking into the dead of night

A bairn on my back and another one snug as a bug deep inside.

He couldn’t feel my pain.


One by one they all moved on, they wearied at our laborious life

They found themselves new families and took themselves a wife

And I was left behind, old hag with sagging breasts

No milk to nursefeed bairns on winter nights

No place for my wearied bones to rest.


© Alison Jean Hankinson

This is for imaginary garden with real toads where we were invited to write in the voice of another.

Author: alisonhankinson

Walking tall whenever I can.

19 thoughts on “A mother on raising sons.”

  1. WOW! Alison, this poem is just so moving. I can absolutely feel the truth of that mother’s pain – the loss, the toil, the kids moving on tired of the hardship, the sagging breasts – all of it. A truly spectacular write. The opening lines go straight to the heart. Thank you for this poem. I am intrigued by your banner photo – it looks like my part of the world on the west coast of Canada. Wondering if it is.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sigh this is truly heart-breaking!😥 I feel women from all around the world face oppression and suffer pain… but oh to have a Latong to share it with.. 💜

    Liked by 1 person

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