A Woman’s Calling

By Marie-Rose Sau

An entry in the Abt Associates Award for Women’s Literature

Where do we find them, dear friend? Are they in that little haven?
Tending to the weeds that come to parasite on thy sweet leaves
As leeches ready to suck the life out from an animal?

Or are they in the chamber where the sanctuary of
Motherhood has bestowed upon them
The task to toil the land under the weathering sun?

Or in the midst of the fields where there lay endless patches of dying greenery
Praying for the rain to sprout forth to bless the parched earth from its dry misery?

Oh the companion of my thoughts, feeding me with questions already asked
A truth I did learn in my walk of life
Come give me comfort now that I may understand the plight of these mothers

These women so boldly made upon this shy earth to dwell upon this land so vast
Their hands have spoken to me of their life filled with cuts and bruises
Yet their tired old faces spoke a different tune

From villages far from the lights of this city with only the burning of their old and oiled lamps
From early dawns when the cock crows to wake them all to the morning’s rise
To cook and clean and feed and smile

What little a blessing that God has given to each one on the soil they broke their backs upon
They prayed to abundance that the land will give back to them their hard work
And their strong spirit of endurance, they braved their fears that the rain will come
And bless the land so

These mothers spoke of their liveliness with such spirit
Tears welled when they sang of their trying, their downfalls, and their bad weathers
Yet when they spoke of the love for their family
Oh the heavens shone down on them and sparkled in their tear soaked eyes

To work to earn to afford to live to survive to keep going on
Their blood cried out for their hardships to go on

But to them it was blessed life that was offered to them on a tin plate
And thus held onto it dearly

Oh the heart of my hearts sobbed at the sight of the learning
To know such after opening my blinded eyes to this world ever so rich

Come the rainy blues and the dreary sunshine with the wind in tow and the dust to blow
Conditions no better than the muddy roads they walked to come this far
Yet they came with heads held high and hopes as their staff to help them walk

Had I the world to give to show what my swelling heart desires
This road they travelled on would be their highway to a better life
They silent hopes to make ends meet shall be my reason to fight

A woman’s calling in this harsh world is to live not for herself
To cater not for oneself but for the many hearts that dwell under the house
Of her watchful eyes

A woman’s calling in this wild land to withstand the cruelties spoken
And never ending tortures to their hopes and prayers
To be braver then the other half of her heart and smile through her hardships

A woman’s calling in this harsh world is not live for herself
But for the many hearts that gave her the reason to live…

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