Elegy to Migrant Mother by Carolyn O’Connell

Growing up in days of conflict
you chose love across the divide,
defying custom, convention and
family allegiance, duties of a daughter.

Escaping to the enemy’s land
doors slammed in your face and
windows waved messages of hate
as you scrubbed strangers’ floors to survive,
mourning an un-suckled child.

Your Romeo rejected his father
accepting exclusion and followed
to find you in enemy territory,
safety in the land of rejection.

When war racked your new land
he fought with new comrades against
an enemy who sought to enslave again.

When peace returned together you
quietly built a new family, bridged the
divide between remnants of the old, and

visited the graves of parents, the homes
of long missed friends where old joys were
remembered, relived. You held your head
high as you walked the streets.

But you would never return to that land
your fate a migrant woman who keeps
secrets safe, silent about the voyage of the past.

Carolyn O’Connell lives in South London. She works with Richmond Libraries to promote poetry and has lead workshops. Her work has been published in Romania and America and her collection Timelines, is published by Indigo Dreams (2014, ISBN 978-1-9093575-3-2) and is also available at Ham House National Trust Bookshop

2 thoughts on “Elegy to Migrant Mother by Carolyn O’Connell

  1. Pingback: Elegy to Migrant Mother by Carolyn O’Connell | Carolyn O' Connell

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