CXC Poetry: The Woman Speaks to the Man who has Employed her Son

This is the first in a series of lessons intended to assist those of you writing CXC English B to approach your study of the subject without the apprehension that so many of you have. You are encouraged to be engaged with the poems and relate them to your own experiences. You are often a lot smarter than you  think they are. Recognizing this you  should not see these notes as complete, but must bring your own interpretations to bear on each poem.
Let us have a conversation
-Ercelle John-Thomas

The Woman Speaks to the Man who has Employed her Son

Her son was first made known to her
as a sense of unease, a need to cry
for little reasons and a metallic tide
rising in her mouth each morning.
Such signs made her know
That she was not alone in her body.
She carried him full term
tight up under her heart.


She carried him like the poor
carry hope, hope you get a break
or a visa, hope one child go through
and remember you. He had no father.
The man she made him with had more
like him, he was fair-minded
he treated all his children
with equal and unbiased indifference.


She raise him twice, once as mother
Then as father, set no ceiling
On what he could be doctor,
earth healer, pilot take wings.
But now he tells her he is working
for you, that you value him so much
you give him one whole submachine
gun for him alone.


He says you are like a father to him
she is wondering what kind of father
would give a son hot and exploding
death, when he asks him for bread.
She went downtown and bought three
and one-third yards of black cloth
and a deep crowned and veiled hat
for the day he draw his bloody salary.


She has no power over you and this
at the level of earth, what she has
are prayers and a mother’s tears
and at knee city she uses them.
She says psalms for him
she reads psalms for you
she weeps for his soul
her eyewater covers you.


She is throwing a partner
with Judas Iscariot’s mother
the thief on the left-hand side
of the cross, his mother
is the banker, her draw though
is first and last for she still
throwing two hands as mother and
father.
She is prepared, she is done.
Absalom.


Click on the Link for analysis and explanation

11 Comments

11 thoughts on “CXC Poetry: The Woman Speaks to the Man who has Employed her Son

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  3. If you have questions feel free to ask them here.

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  5. Ravie

    What is the purpose of the first three stanzas which describe the mother’s struggle to give birth to the son and to raise him?

  6. Deeja

    To verbalize the struggle and sacrifices she made for him and her high expectations of him knowing that she had been through so much by herself because he had no father. it also shows linkage with the betrayal and disappointment he caused her. (she did a lot to keep him alive and now he’s putting himself in death’s way)

  7. annabel katherine

    what is the meaning and the understanding of the woman speaks to the man who has employed her son?

  8. crystal1241

    what is the allusion in the poem?

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