“You shall yield—for the mothers’ sake!”


Dear Ms. Feverfew –

Angela Morgan wrote the poem at the bottom of this letter, “Battle Cry of the Mothers” during World War I. I found it  many years ago, when I was first waking up from the adoption anesthesia.  It resonated within my torn and broken heart. In the stanzas of this poem, I first found words that began to convey the great tragedy adoption was in my life. O, God! If the mothers could only speak— At that moment, I had lost the ability to speak the truth about my loss, but in the intervening years, I have found my voice. However, it was not without exquisite pain and sufferingour minds are numb and our hearts are sore!—and much anguish of the soul.

No, I did not suffer because I got pregnant before getting married, I suffered because I came to understand  the truth: My motherhood had been shamefully trafficked and I had bartered away its perfect bloom. And what did I get in exchange? O, mothers! The ages we have cried!— Nights and days of sorrow, tears enough to fill a river, empty arms and empty chairs at the dinner table.

It is over my body and the bodies of women like myself Our bodies that nourished him, day by day; In the long dim hours of our sacred bliss the adoption industry shouts. The always-hungry monster clamors for more, more, more, MORE Fruit of our age-long mother pain; more Pulse of our pulse,  breath of our breath. Our empty wombs and empty arms will never be enough, our sacrifice and our shattered hearts will never satisfy the false God of adoption.

And then there is you, one of the four things I cherish most in this world.

They have bargained you out for their paltry gain
And they build their hope on the shattered breast
Of the child we sang to rest.
On the shattered breast and the wounded cheek—
O, God! If the mothers could only speak—

I am sorry for not knowing how adoption would wound you, how it would shatter your ability to trust in your own goodness, your own worth, your own value within the universe. If I had known, I would have made different choices, but I didn’t, and for that, I am sorry.

I cannot undo what was done, but I can move out of that secret place and leave the silence behind to tell others of our fate. I have found my voice and I can speak.  Other mothers have found theirs, as well, and they are speaking. Eventually, these voices will join and become so loud they can no longer be ignored. It is happening across the world and will eventually happen here in the United States. This country shall hear the cry that the mothers make— and yield—for the mothers’ sake!

I do not know when, I only know that it will happen. Justice and mercy demands it.

Much love –

M.

Battle Cry of the Mothers 

Bone of our bone, flesh of our flesh,
Fruit of our age-long mother pain,
They have caught your life in the nations’ mesh,
They have bargained you out for their paltry gain
And they build their hope on the shattered breast
Of the child we sang to rest.
On the shattered breast and the wounded cheek—
O, God! If the mothers could only speak—
Blossom of centuries trampled down
For the moment’s red renown.

Pulse of our pulse,  breath of our breath,
Hope of the pang that brought to birth,
They have flung you forth to the fiends of death,
They have cast your flesh to the cruel earth,
Field upon field, tier upon tier
Till the darkness writhes in fear.
And they plan to marshal you more and more—
Oh, our minds are numb and our hearts are sore!—
They are killing the thing we cherish most,
They are driving your forth in a blinding host,
They are storming the world with your eager strength—
But the judgment comes at length.

Emperors! Kings! On your heedless throne,
Do you hear the cry that the mothers make?
The blood you shed is our own, our own,
You shall answer, for our sake.
When you pierce his side, you have pierced our side—
O, mothers! The ages we have cried!—
And the shell that sunders his flesh apart
Enters our bleeding heart.

‘Tis over our bodies you shout your way,
Our bodies that nourished him, day by day
In the long dim hours of our sacred bliss,
Fated to end in this!

Governors! Ministers! You who prate
That war and ravage and wreck must be
To save the nation, avenge the state,
To right men’s wrongs and set them free—
You who have said
Blood must be shed
Nor reckoned the cost of our agony—
Answer us now! Down the ages long
Who has righted the mother’s wrong?
You have bargained our milk, you have bargained our blood,
Nor counted us more than the forest brutes;
By the shameful traffic of motherhood
Have you settled the world’s disputes.
Did you think to barter the perfect bloom,
Bodies shaped in our patient womb,
And never to face the judgment day
When you and your kind should pay?

Flesh of our flesh, bone of our bone,
Hope of the pang we bore alone,
Sinew and strength of the midnight hour
When our dream had come to flower.

O women! You who are spared our woe,
You who have felt the mother throe
Yet cannot know the stark despair
Of coffins you shall never bear—
Are you asleep that you do not care,
Afraid, that you do not dare?
Will you dumbly stand
In your own safe land
While our sons are slaughtered and torn?
Bravely through the centuries we have borne
And suffered and wept in our secret place,
But now our silence and shame are past,
The reckoning day has come at last—
We must rise! We must plead for the race!
You who behold the mothers’ plight
Will you join our battle cry with might,
Will you fight the mothers’ fight?
We who have given the soldiers birth,
Let us fling our cry to the ends of the earth,
To the ends of Time let our voice be hurled
‘Til it waken the sleeping world.
Flesh of our flesh, bone of our bone,
Toil of the centuries come to speech,
As far as the human voice can reach
We will shout, we will plead for our own!

Warriors! Counsellors! Men at arms!
You who have gloried in war’s alarms,
When the great rebellion comes
You shall hear the beat
Of our marching feet
And the sound of our million drums.
You shall know that the world is at last awake—
You shall hear the cry that the mothers make—
You shall yield—for the mothers’ sake!

~ Angela Morgan, 1915

Advertisements

7 thoughts on ““You shall yield—for the mothers’ sake!”

  1. Yes! Yes I will ~
    “Will you join our battle cry with might,
    Will you fight the mothers’ fight?
    We who have given the soldiers birth,
    Let us fling our cry to the ends of the earth,
    To the ends of Time let our voice be hurled
    ‘Til it waken the sleeping world.
    Flesh of our flesh, bone of our bone,
    Toil of the centuries come to speech,
    As far as the human voice can reach
    We will shout, we will plead for our own!”

    Great poem, great post!!

  2. Don’t you wish, so much, that somebody – ANYBODY – would have told us about the damage adoption might cause our children? I wish that more than anything. I wish just one voice would have just spoken up and told us that our children would suffer, feel pain. Just one single voice to warn us of the harm to our children.

    I love the poem. It’s perfect for all that was so horribly taken from so many mothers.

  3. Reblogged this on The Life Of Von and commented:
    Great post here from Melynda – “I am sorry for not knowing how adoption would wound you, how it would shatter your ability to trust in your own goodness, your own worth, your own value within the universe. If I had known, I would have made different choices, but I didn’t, and for that, I am sorry.”

    • A cruel mess, indeed, and one that continues to be heralded as good and lovely here in the U.S. I will never back down from speaking the Truth (with a capital T) about the right of a child to be raised by her mother.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s