Jessie Mitchell’s Mother
Into her mother’s bedroom to wash the ballooning body.
“My mother is jelly-hearted and she has a brain of jelly:
Sweet, quiver-soft, irrelevant. Not essential.
Only a habit would cry if she should die.
A pleasant sort of fool without the least iron. . . .
Are you better, mother, do you think it will come today?”
The stretched yellow rag that was Jessie Mitchell’s mother
Reviewed her. Young, and so thin, and so straight.
So straight! as if nothing could ever bend her.
But poor men would bend her, and doing things with poor men,
Being much in bed, and babies would bend her over,
And the rest of things in life that were for poor women,
Coming to them grinning and pretty with intent to bend and to kill.
Comparisons shattered her heart, ate at her bulwarks:
The shabby and the bright: she, almost hating her daughter,
Crept into an old sly refuge: “Jessie’s black
And her way will be black, and jerkier even than mine.
Mine, in fact, because I was lovely, had flowers
Tucked in the jerks, flowers were here and there. . . .”
She revived for the moment settled and dried-up triumphs,
Forced perfume into old petals, pulled up the droop,
Triumphant long-exhaled breaths.
Her exquisite yellow youth . . .
Gwendolyn Brooks's Other Poems
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (Jessie Mitchell’s Mother by Gwendolyn Brooks )
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(26 March 1907 – 11 September 1987)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
(9 November 1928 – 4 October 1974)
Mewlana Jalaluddin Rumi
(1207 - 1273)
- The Solitary Reaper, William Wordsworth
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- Invictus, William Ernest Henley
- Daffodils, William Wordsworth
- Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
- Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
- I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love .., Pablo Neruda
- Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
- A Late Walk, Robert Frost
- Nothing Gold Can Stay, Robert Frost
Poem of the Day
- woman pride, ademola oluwabusayo
- For Her, M.J. Lemon
- I Broke My Leg, M.J. Lemon
- Get Together in NCCF Benue, Dare Onadele
- A Man Dying, M.J. Lemon
- Force Of Nature, R B Seals
- People I See Sometimes, Casey Renee Kiser
- The Song of My Heart, Amber Carr
- Tales Of A Wife: My Devil, Onyekachukwu Vincent Onyeche
- ARRIVAL DAY, michael walkerjohn