Sunday, 3 April 2011


Joan of Arc - Gaston Bussiere
Lá 'le Mamaí faoi mhaise! Happy Mother's Day! Best wishes to my own mother and especially to all my mother-writer friends - you are my inspiration.

I looked through my poems, trying to find a cheery poem about mothering. Um, I don't seem to have any particularly light-hearted ones. Anyway, I've decided to share this one, 'La Pucelle', which was in my collection Tattoo : Tatú. It's about Joan of Arc and her mother. It's sort of sad but it's about the love we have for our mothers.

Have a great day!

In the hush of my father’s house,
before dusk rustles over the horizon,
I take off the dress my mother made
– it’s as ruby-red as St. Michael’s cloak –
and with a slitch of linen, bind my breasts.

By the greasy light of a candle,
I shear my hair to the style of a boy,
in the looking-glass, I see my girlhood
swallowed up in a tunic and pants,
I lace them tightly to safeguard myself.

My soldiers call me ‘pucelle’, maiden,
they cleave a suit of armour to my body,
and know, when following my banner
over ramparts into Orléans, that
there will only ever be one like me.

When the pyre-flames fly up my legs,
I do not think of the Dauphin,
or my trial as a heretical pretender,
but see my mother, head bent low,
sewing a red dress for her daughter to wear.


Kar said...

A lovely poem from a fantastic collection! I think I may have to re-read it again today..
Hope you have a very happy mammy day

Jills said...

very nice. made me think of the lyrics to an old folk song that joan baez and bob dylan and the grateful dead made popular, jackaroe

i know my waist is slender, my fingers are not and small, but it would not make me tremble to face the cannonball.


Kar - thanks a millo. Had a nice day - nice food and choc and music. Sweet. N x


Jills - thank you.
I'm listening to Joan B singing it on Youtube as I type. What a clear, sweet voice and a lovely ballad. Thanks for telling me about it.

Jills said...

woops! I meant neat and small! I'm so glad you're hearing it for the first time. and happy mother's day over there.


Jills - I read it as 'neat' so no worries.
Happy mother's day to you too :)

Tomono said...

We have our copy of Tattoo : Tatú up in the bathroom- an honour I assure you, only our favourite books reside there for reading over and over!! Every blessing on this Mothers Day Nuala XX

Words A Day said...

love that last line. stunning poem.


Thanks a millo, Emily and Niamh. I hope you both had a lovely mother's day. Nuala x

Rachel Fenton said...

It's a gorgeous poem - you really are a painter, you know. Happy belated Mam's day - though we have a different one in NZ - neither of which get remembered! Though I did send me mam a card, but she wasn't at home to receive it - miles away in Scotland, living it up!


There should be world co-ordination of Mothering Sunday. WOuldn't that make sense?!?!?!
Happy mother's day to you anyway, Rae, whenever it falls in your land!
N x

Rosita said...

real nice x