Elizabeth Russell

Minamata - Poem by Elizabeth Russell

I remember seeing a photograph of a mother
Holding her daughter -
In a town called Minamata in Japan
Where mercury had been dumped into the water
And this little girl had been born
With birth defects
So severe
That they paralysed me for a moment
But her mother’s face
Shone with the type of love
That could only have been
Reserved for a child who had
Exceeded, achieved, excelled, saved, loved
But this child was
Unable to speak, think, respond
Or move
Her hands clawed
And her face -!
But her mother’s face revealed
A love and compassion so infinitely pure
That it eclipsed
Her daughter’s disability
I wondered at the time
What kind of love did that?
That just by looking at this photograph
My heart could fill with a longing so desperate
That it took my breath away
I had never seen that look before
But I know it now
I see it on my face

Comments about Minamata by Elizabeth Russell

  • (2/7/2006 7:48:00 PM)

    How true it is that it takes one mother to recognize that transcending love on another mother's face - child's abilities or lack of them notwithstanding. It is the purest love there is, and I think God looks at us the same way, with a love that is all forgiving and loving. Wonderful, pure, clear work that touches me so deeply. Linda (Report)Reply

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  • (4/23/2005 4:38:00 AM)

    You know Elizabeth, it is the simplicity of your work that I love. You make it look so easy but you are a very tallented poet and I am truly envious of your ability.

    I must do something to attract more attention to your work. I will see what I can do.

    Kind regards

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Read poems about / on: daughter, mother, child, birth, girl, remember, water, love, time, children

Poem Submitted: Saturday, April 23, 2005

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