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From whence I came is most often felt, gathered round the table

With my mother, sisters, aunts and cousins, listening to family fables.

The women who came before me, were made of flesh and steel;

For the strength that lies inside our hearts, is nothing short of real.

My mother’s mother – and her mother, too – buried sons before their time.

A devastating memory, for the siblings left behind.

Denied an education, my grandmother worked hard

To teach herself all that she knew – that’s power I can regard.

Abusive men, disabled babes, some babes not borne at all,

Our ancestor shipped across the world (from Ireland, if I recall).

Hardships, griefs and losses you can barely comprehend

Are the building blocks, which on upon, these legends now depend.

The stories of these women, are mine, my children’s too;

They are me, as I am them – our hearts beat red and true.

© Tara Jenkinson 2017