I have chosen Lorna Goodison as my first poet of the month because she is my all-time favorite Caribbean poet. I have been reading Lorna Goodison's poems for many years and I have been fascinated by her style, her treatment of the struggles of Caribbean women in her poems, and her political consciousness. I also thoroughly enjoyed her latest work, From Harvey River, a memoir published in 2008. One powerful poem that Lorna wrote was the Bedspread, which dealt with the South African police seizure of Nelson and Winnie Mandela's bedspread during the Apartheid era. I remember watching Lorna on television doing a very moving reading of this poem to Nelson Mandela on his visit to Jamaica, shortly after his release from prison. Today, however, I will feature another of my favorite Lorna Goodison poem, which is I Am Becoming My Mother.
I Am Becoming My Mother
fingers smelling always of onions
My mother raises rare blooms
and waters them with tea
her birth waters sung like rivers
My mother is now me
My mother had a linen dress
the colour of the sky
and stored lace and damask
to pull shame out of her eye.
I am becoming my mother
fingers smelling always of onions.
Source: From Our Yard. Jamaican Poetry Since Independence. No. 2 Jamaica 21 Anthology Series. Pamela Mordecai (ed.). Institute of Jamaica Publications Ltd. 1987.
Copyright Lorna Goodison. Reprinted with author's permission
Below is a link to more information on Lorna's background and works.