My Daughters

My Daughters

Woman, wife, girlfriend,
other half, better half,
piece, bit, whore, keeper, baby mother,
I have watched you suffer,
I have watched you stand firm with my sons,
I have waited anxiously with you for his return,
I have heard you scream when they lynched him,
I have seen you abused,
Nurse and murderer
Bearer of Massa’s children
in the fields at sunset.
I have heard you stifle the pain when he was humiliated,
belittled, castrated: it was our pain
When you chose not to bring another life into slavery
my heart ached with you
My daughters when you turned to Jesus
I rejoiced with you,
Lamp-bearer on the railroad,
bearer of his children,
baring your breasts for freedom
educating our children,
Strong, Firm, Proud,
Yet when all was still I heard your silent cry,
Nefertiti, Cleopatra, Nzinga,
Sojourner, Harriet, Nanny, Mary, Angela
My daughters, I watched you from eggs to dust
With my sons, come home.

c. Shirley P Cooper aka Sisi 1991

My Daughters

Shirley Cooper (B)Lake

Birmingham, United Kingdom

  • Artist
    Notes

Artist's Description

This is one of a pair of poems written when an ex ,with whom I’d had a stormy relationship, came to visit me. I was so angry I wrote 2 of my best poems. The first poem is called `My Sons`

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