Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mother's Day Poem (what my mother did right)

One of my small writing group's prompts this week was to write about what our mothers did right. That was a brilliant prompt for me. Thank you Judy. My mother did so much right, and also made some painful mistakes. True of me as a mother too, I know. It felt good for this poem to just write about the good stuff, not to try to find a balance or paint the whole woman.


My mother was a hot tamale,
world by the tail, first generation,
fast train out of Tiny Texas,
got rid of her Czech accent
kept her recipes, songs, family
loyalty, worked her way through
college in the middle of Depression
with the best job on campus,
loved hard, played great jazz piano,
sewed magic clothes that made me
feel like a perfect princess, got me
books, books, books, Listened to
my stories every afternoon after school,
told me her stories, told the truth as
she understood it, talked straight
about work, sex and money,
knew that life is hard and good.
taught me to use my gifts in gratitude.
and to question people who were too sure.
made a new career for herself in her fifties
aught classrooms of women how to take
care of themselves in the work world,
knew how to say she was sorry.

Victoria Hendricks
May 2010


  1. This poem about your mother gives a very strong picture of your mother.

    My favorite lines are these:

    "My mother was a hot tamale,
    world by the tail, first generation,
    fast train out of Tiny Texas.."

    A poem for your children and grandchildren to treasure someday!

  2. I loved getting to know your mother through this poem, Victoria. She sounds like a very special person, and I know I would have liked her!

  3. Thanks Mary and Diane for commenting here. It was good to write a purely positive poem about Mama. Our relationship was complicated and she was complicated - but all the good things I wrote and more for sure.

  4. You have shown us a wonderful person in this poem.

    The mother/daughter relationship is always complicated, I feel the same way about mine with my mother, and probably my daughter feels similarly ambivalent about hers with me.

  5. Thanks for visiting here, Vivinfrance. And yes I don't think the mother daughter relationship can be anything but complicated.