Generational Shift… A tale of 3 generations of women and the love that always hopes…

Today’s papers carry the news that the Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has announced that he will give an apology to the women who in the 60’s and 70’s were forced to give up their babies for adoption.  I pray this will bring some comfort to all affected by the events of the past.  A Mother never  gives up the love and hope she has for her child, even if she has foolishly abandoned that child for her own reasons, as the mother of the first generation described in this poem has done:

Generational Shift

the first…exit signs

a young man’s slave
or an old man’s darling
you made your choice
according to the flesh
with our umbilical cords
barely severed
hung out to dry
on the outstretched arms
of the old man
chords were broken
words of the song lost
and never found again
even on the day
you came to the coffin
the stiff, still form
did not return your gaze
though in life
he yearned for nothing else
you were all that mattered
to both of you
your own dreams at last came true
when you made the shift
from life to death
awakened love for those around you
overtook us all
forgiveness found, you were received
into the everlasting arms

the second…window frames

through my window, looking into the
ill perceived paradise of the past
largeness sinks into the labyrinth
of imperfect impressions
leaving a shrunken, short-changed reality
mixed with memories of the longings
born of pain, poverty and loneliness
now, amidst the present comfort
and achievements of life
echoes of my self come calling
until I see the tiny pale face, waiflike
in childish expectancy
and familiar bright eyed faith
arms extend toward me, identical smile
both forgiven and forgiving
through our windows we embrace
past and present reconcile

the third…welcome mat

there’s an anguished distance
of years and tears between us
the roads we’ve travelled by
have been so close and yet
so far apart
this strange, sad silence
you now choose to keep
may yet be bridged
there is that hope
the papers had to be signed
no choice, no quarter given
you, relinquished
into the reaching arms of the unknown
myself, left alone, bereft of all
believing the golden lies
not knowing the horrors that awaited you
so utterly immersed in my own
you became a ward of the state
passed down from one mother to another
abused, ashamed, alarmed, abandoned
the road to forgiveness too rocky for you
while I, patience my only recourse
wait with arms wide open
Shirley Chalmers


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