Wallace B. Collins
A Mother's Child
Poem by Wallace B. Collins
A limp flutter, a twist, a turn,
A violent force, her last outburst.
Heaving, writhing, a life emerge.
A trickle of energy, a freed Intern,
The domain of pain, earned;
Gasps for the new air, cries for the new world,
Looks, stares, unseen the waste--A tragedy!
Now flagged from screams and groans she lulls:
Its little heart must grow with love!
Its little heart must not know hate!
But unknown her crime, a rebel's birth,
Its dumb stare greets her.
She eyes the infant creeps,
She marvels at its senseless gibbering.
Anxiously the child walks.
Now the adolescent stalks,
The streets, the parks, the bars, highways,
Heeding the pull, the tug that throb,
That stirs beneath his angry breast.
He hates the world, pities himself, speaks of love:
They say I have no dad that's why I'm bad.
This boy! My child! My son, your dad is dead!
They say I'm ignorant that's why I'm hostile.
They say what boy? You bad? You're a man!
They say I hate too much. But I have my rights.
They say what? Hate who? What for? You mad?
They say they have no work. I'm not mad--no work.
Oh God! boy, don't talk so. You good! Be proud!
They say I love too much--"The Crow's Nest"--
Straight. No chaser. . . keep my cool.
You're hooked! Poor thing! Wine's a mocker!
They say , they have no work. I have no bread!
What can I do, what!
What? You broke! Its bad! But have faith in
God! He won't make you be a mother's crime.
So what! Yes fate! The bank! Yes faith
God's send. Hunt bread! Green bread!
He runs. They chase. He fires. They shoot!
He falls. They slowed. He lost. They won!
For what this triumph against this man?
For what this grief, a mother's pain?
For whom this joy? Whoa there me boy!
I'll never survive this cold black night
His heart now stilled is spent of joy--and hate.
Quite dead. A corpse.
The corpse? A man! The corpse? A goddamn man!
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