A Ballad for Stabat Mater

(A dedication to mothers)

Do you remember radiance
of one who’s always there
the taste of swollen mamilla,
the scent of her sweet hair.

Whose kiss and gentle healing touch
was cooling with a balm
that soothed your painful childish graze
and injured pride becalmed.

Who taught you that a healing touch
and kiss could lead to more;
whilst she embraced competing love,
you found what love is for.

She stood as you went off to war,
to fight life’s bitter battles.
She taught you all you need to know
to rise above mere chattels.

As wisdoms, many, come to you,
from battles won or lost,
a mother’s love transcends it all
and never counts the cost.

In your old age you may well see
your children bear their own,
revealing then the seeds of love
that Stabat Mater’s sewn.

When dotage dims your consciousness,
confusion blurs your view,
expect a revelation that
her love has seen you through.

© 2012 John Anstie

First published on 18th March 2012

Click here for the Author’s Note.


[This is another poem inspired by William Shakespeare’s “The Seven Ages of Man”, which are: Infancy, Childhood, The Lover, The Soldier, The Justice, Old Age and Decline. It followed that the poem had to have seven stanzas. It is also inspired by that holy icon, the Stabat Mater, the mother of all mothers, about whom much extraordinary music has been written by countless composers and many stories told.]

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