Folks, I know I’m way behind in visiting your sites, and for that I apologize. Think I’m back in the swing of things, but (and this is a good thing, not a complaint!) so many folks have wonderful comments, it’s hard to get to everyone’s sites for a look. I’ve given up on responding to comments on my work, but I guess visiting your site is better than blathering here!
Josie Two Shoes, a new friend, has begun her own prompt called “Two Shoes Tuesday.” This week’s word is “sacrifice,” so see what you think of my efforts below. I love all you folks for visiting, for being patient when I’m battling my manic depression, for being a source of strength, support, and community to me and so many others. Peace, Amy
African Mother’s Ferocious Love
Hunted, trapped like animals in their own village.
Strapped one to another: Mother, daughter and son.
Shoved into ships, below deck, so cramped,
no room to stand, sitting in human waste, crying.
The voyage was nauseating, grueling.
Thin gruel, water from barrels, not like
the clean, cool waters of streams of home.
Steadily, her people died of fever and starvation.
The sound of the whippings, the moans, night murmurs.
Her son finally succumbed to the wasting disease.
Now, as she wondered whether they would ever see land,
she felt his same gripping pain in her gut.
Up on deck for the hosing down and whipping,
she clutched her baby girl in her arms, carefully
inched her way to the rail and, in an instant,
they were both overboard, taken by the sea.
Her son had already been given to the water
after his death, tossed over like garbage.
At least now she and her baby girl would join her son,
together forever, engulfed in the endless waters. Free.
© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
NOTE: This poem has been edited from its original form, written in 2010. It also appears at my poetic haven, Poets United.
March 7, 2013 at 12:59 am
OMG! This is so good. As a mom, I feel it in the gut. Thanks for sharing.
March 7, 2013 at 1:07 am
Wow – that is some powerful imagery! Excellent words. Amy, don’t worry about a visit – you know I understand 😉
March 7, 2013 at 1:10 am
This is so incredible Amy- amazing
March 7, 2013 at 1:13 am
I can never think of comments for your blog…because they pretty much say everything that needs to be said…everything I could add would be redundant…
March 7, 2013 at 1:29 am
I was horrified as a young boy seeing the illustration of how slaves were packed into the hold of the ships as they were transported to the Americas. They were a but a commodity but it was their captors who were inhuman not them.
March 7, 2013 at 1:31 am
I can’t click like for your powerful images of slavery which still prod at my national conscience. But you have written a strong poem to justify the sacrifice.
March 7, 2013 at 3:47 am
Human tragedy long the picture of oppression against mankind. We can only lament. The mother’s sacrifice is something not unexpected. Nicely Amy!
March 7, 2013 at 5:04 am
Well written, tho depressing as hell.
March 7, 2013 at 7:03 am
wow…what a life eh? we talked about this in history class and the way that slaves were brought over to the new world…its ghastly…so death would def be invitiing….how sad too in how we treat each other…the human story…
March 7, 2013 at 8:09 am
Wow. That was really good, but super sad.
March 7, 2013 at 9:08 am
vivid and visceral, Amy.
Josie Two Shoes
March 7, 2013 at 10:46 am
If there is anything we know as mothers, it is that we will do whatever is required to protect our children, sadly in this case, the mother chose the only alternative she had to prevent her child facing a horrific future. I like to think I would have had the courage to do the same. Excellent piece, Amy. It brings home the reality of what enslavement was/is.
March 7, 2013 at 11:02 am
This is brutal. Brilliant and brutal.
March 7, 2013 at 1:57 pm
Ames – you are so beyond brilliant, you leave me breathless and weeping – Josie Two Shoes has said it all – I’m sorry you’ve been having such a shitty time but I’m humbled by what you’re putting out now – words fail me. Be well, sweet sister of mine. Sharon I
March 7, 2013 at 2:15 pm
Amy, it is wonderful when you visit, and just as wonderful to be here and read. Keep those poems coming 🙂 I think I may have made the same choice as the mother here–why bring your baby into this nightmare, and if you know you’re about to leave her helpless to these monsters–the sea is a welcome place. Life can be grim. Beautiful write.
March 7, 2013 at 2:30 pm
Just wanted to leave you a message here…did you see that your poem was featured on Monday’s Poem of the Week? Take a look:
gs batty (sonetimes)
March 7, 2013 at 3:49 pm
enjoy your writing…this one is truth…truth of the world the way it can be…no we do not always enjoy the truth but to hide from it only invites something worse. nice writing
March 7, 2013 at 6:28 pm
This was so so moving Amy! Thank you!
March 8, 2013 at 3:30 am
That is beautiful and so strong…
Sherry Blue Sky
March 8, 2013 at 10:38 am
Yes, better free in the water than captive in the hold. A wonderful story, Amy. You shine!
March 22, 2013 at 3:40 am
Incredibly sad but unfortunately all too true. A truly beautiful albeit dark story.