My Irish Mother ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 41

So much has been written about ‘the Irish Mammy’ and I became more and more aware of this in recent months as I sorted through family photographs which included our late parents to share with my brother and sister.

Mother with Daffodils

Nothing that I read about ‘Irish mammies’ or indeed ‘mammies ‘ of any nationality resonated with me  until I came across a poem this morning by Guyanese poet, Grace Nichols. It is very much about the nurturing, warm spirit of a mother and it captures so much of how I feel about my Irish mother.  It came as no great surprise to find that Grace Nichols spent her early childhood at the coast, just as I did, and hence the many references to the sea.

While Grace Nichols’ mother said, ‘Go to your wild futures,’  lifelong sayings and quotes of mine included  ‘ You’re only young once’ and ‘Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.’

 Praise Song for My Mother 


Grace Nichols 

You were 
water to me 
deep and bold and fathoming 

You were moon’s eye to me 
pull and grained and mantling 

You were 
sunrise to me 
rise and warm and streaming 

You were 
the fishes gill to me 
the flame tree’s spread to me 
the crab’s leg/the fried plantain smell 
replenishing, replenishing 

Go to your wide futures, you said.

Mother on one of our many Mother-Daughter Outings to Annestown Beach, Co, Waterford
Mother relaxing at Annestown Beach, Co. Waterford

Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and sense of place.

2 thoughts on “My Irish Mother ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 41”

  1. Totally wholesome and a very beautiful blog…your Mum would be soo proud of you Jean…fabulous memories for you and the family… you are sooo good at this stuff Jean…your best blog ever !! x

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