To My Mother Poem by George Barker

To My Mother

Rating: 3.7

Most near, most dear, most loved and most far,
Under the window where I often found her
Sitting as huge as Asia, seismic with laughter,
Gin and chicken helpless in her Irish hand,
Irresistible as Rabelais, but most tender for
The lame dogs and hurt birds that surround her -
She is a procession no one can follow after
But be like a little dog following a brass band.

She will not glance up at the bomber, or condescend
To drop her gin and scuttle to a cellar,
But lean on the mahogany table like a mountain
Whom only faith can move, and so I send
O all my faith, and all my love to tell her
That she will move from mourning into morning.

To My Mother
Ian Stuart 04 February 2009

Within the constraints of the 14 line sonnet, this is a vivid and affectionate portrait of the poet's mother, setting out her many qualities which include a riotous sense of humour, compassion for those in trouble and a resilience in the face of personal danger(the reference to the 'bomber' in line 9 sets the poem in the early 1940s when British cities were under attack by the squadrons of the Luftwaffe) . I like the link in line 3 of 'seismic laughter' to 'a brass band' in line 8 (both equally noisy) . The oblique reference to 1 Corinthians 13.2 in lines 11 and 12 changes the tone to a darker hue. Mrs Barker is in mourning_a family bereavement? However the poem ends on a triumphant note. The poet assures his mother that her religious faith and his love will ensure her sadness will be temporary. I think that the last line contains an affectionate reference to her nationality. The words 'mourning' and 'morning' have a similar sound particularly where they are spoken with an Irish accent.

18 2 Reply
Kezang Dawa 17 September 2012

i can feel the pain of some one who lost their mother....

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Oliver Cooper 25 February 2016

he hasnt lost his mother in this poem she has just lost her spirit

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Susan Williams 04 September 2016

Wow! What a tribute- -what a Mother! ! ! Yet, though all Mothers could not be as brave in a bombing attack, many Mothers have their brand of bravery that they meet life's difficulties with, be it grace, humor, patience, or quiet wisdom. May all lovely Mothers get such heart felt tributes before they leave us at life's end.

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Douglas Scotney 04 September 2016

Asia, so big it doesn't want to own up to Europe. Or Europe so petite it denies its rump?

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Dr Dillip K Swain 12 July 2023

A great tribute to your mother. Your love and feelings can be rightly generalised. I quote, 'Most near, most dear, most loved and most far' I unquote' endearing poem!

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Rose Marie Juan-austin 09 January 2022

A great tribute to a wonderful mother. Beautifully crafted poem.

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Michelson.Susan 27 February 2020

445 SW 57th Pl

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Britte Ninad 26 August 2018

Nice tribute to Mother

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Ratnakar Mandlik 04 September 2016

A fantastic tribute paid to the loveliest person on earth, that is mother. Thanks for sharing.10 points.

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