She Read As She Cradled.

She Read As She Cradled

You part of me

Every day your history
Every tomorrow your destiny
Every growth your mystery
Every mother wants a baby
Like you

Every laugh your personality
Every look your clarity
Every word your stability
Every mother wants a baby
Like you

Every hiccup a comedy
Every fall a catastrophe
Every worry my worry
Every step you’re beside me
Every sight you’re pure beauty
Every mother wants a baby
Like you

Every tear wiped carefully
Every word spoke lovingly
Every meal fed silently
every cloth washed caringly
Every song sung sweetly

Every day I whisper quietly
Every mother wants a baby
Like you

© Lemn Sissay

8 thoughts on “She Read As She Cradled.

  1. One of my professors recently played your Ted Talk in our class in reference to the subject of childhood, child rearing, and the reality versus the ideal of those subjects. She posed the question of what did Mr. Sissay mean when he said , “Family gives you a reference point.” ? She was using it in reference to children needing family to remind them/show them where they have been and where they are going….family grounds you and tells you who you are. I took it to mean something completely different as the mother of a child that was killed. My children gave me my reference point. She also posted this website in case we wanted to read some of your poetry. I just finished reading “She Read As She Cradled”. In 2 days (almost exactly 48 hours actually), it will be 5 years since my daughter was taken from me. It is 11:30 where I live and I am sitting in the living room of my home crying my eyes out because you just put into words what I was feeling 5 years ago holding my child knowing she was going to die. This may sound weird but , “Thank you”. I have never been able to find the words to describe that moment and everything that I wanted to say to Grace and couldn’t. Family DOES give you a reference point. That is why a child that has lost their parents is called an orphan, a man/woman that has lost their spouse is called a widower/widow but a parent that has lost a child has no name. There is simply no reference point anymore.
    Thank you for your beautiful words.

  2. I hope you don’t mind but I read your poem She Read as she Cradled in Church on Mothering Sunday. They were the most moving words I could find to highlight the tension between a child’s longing for a perfect mother and a woman desperately trying to be a perfect mother in difficult circumstances.
    Bless you Lemn your writing and your calling

  3. I have just read your poem, she read as she cradled her child.
    It is very moving. I have just become a great grandmother and will see the baby tomorrow. This poem will be one of my presents to the new mum and I know it is the best present that I could give her.

    Thank you


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