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Mother’s Day

By Kristin Christman
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If we could see a Mother’s Day

All around the world,

Where mothers lived a day of joy,

Where mothers felt their worth,

Then what exactly would we see

So moms could realize

That their lives are important and

Their own perspectives wise?

The women in Sudan would not

Be flogged for wearing pants.

Their spirits wouldn’t be constrained;

They’d run, skip, sing, and dance.

In Arabia we’d celebrate

No groping of the girls;

They’d drive their cars with elbows bare,

Show ankles under skirts.

As golden rays of morning light

Touched arms tan from the sun,

Brown locks of hair blown by the breeze

From scarves could come undone.

And no false blame on women for

Attracting hands of men,

As if the hands were victims of

The evil feminine.

Instead of yoking women, telling

Them they have to hide,

The men without firm self-control

Would wear handcuffs outside.

And stiff Wahhabi thoughts of us

As temptresses dirt-smeared

Would turn around, go upside down

Til women were revered.

We’d hear collapse beliefs that virgins

Wait up in the sky

To welcome men who’ve torn apart

The hearts of countless lives.

For woman would not see the sense

In violence or the use

Of bombs, explosions, grief, and death

With God as an excuse.

And over in Afghanistan

Car bombings and grenades

Against the women working for

Their rights would quickly fade.

Iranians for their part would

forbid torture and rapes

Of prisoners and end abuse

Of wives, victims of hate.

And Pakistani mothers giving

Birth would have the aid

Of female nurses from their land

Who’ve been to school and trained.

Then as their infants grew in age

They’d find joy escalate

From playgrounds, slides, and jungle gyms,

From swimming, roller blades.

As youth needing adventure they’d

Not turn to violent games;

Instead they’d learn gymnastics,

Parachute, ski, climb, and skate.

And as adults out searching for

High purpose, noble life,

They’d tie their passion to non-violent

Action without strife.

Down south in Congo women would

Be safe from savage harm;

Their sons and husbands never forced

To kidnap, kill, bear arms.

Traditions that insist a wife

Accept pain from her mate

Would be replaced by cell phones to

Report him and escape.

And food crops would replace cash crops

So families could eat,

And women would not eat what’s left

From men but with them feast.

Cold darkness that compels some men

To kill for treasured mines

Would change to light so they could see

that deadly greed’s unkind.

And what use is the gain of wealth

When all that it’s used for

Is purchasing more guns to fuel

A war for wealth for war?

The violence in Nigeria,

The suffering on all sides

From lack of prosecution, no

Defense of human rights;

The oil spills from old pipelines that

The owners won’t clean up,

Polluting land and water leaving

Natives without much;

The poverty and homelessness

And baseless cruel arrests

That place one thousand on death row,

No fair trials or defense;

On Mother’s Day if this could all

Completely change around,

We might set up good habits and

Not spirals going down.

In India no woman would

Get acid on her face

From men who feel superior

But are debased by hate.

And South Koreans would not let

A thirst for alcohol

Fuel murder, rape, and robbery

And take a morbid toll.

High in Nepal the women who

Have skills to mediate

Would not be kept from peace talks led

By men who just debate.

And women healers never would

Be stoned for their witchcraft.

Holistic ways cure even without

Numbers, charts, and graphs.

While medicalized knowledge of

The body may be right,

The inattention to the whole

Leaves gaps in our insight.

Just as the mediator should

Not solve our problems by

Descending bombs and missiles down

To quench unfriendly fire,

The healer cannot fix sickness

By simply cutting out

The portion of the body that

Has fever, fat, or gout.

For problems in the world cannot

Be fixed by killing lives,

And problems in our bodies need

Much more than drugs and knives.

Frustrations and relations, time

In nature or at jobs,

The feeling that we’re trapped somehow,

Our life dreams have been robbed:

How are these matters making us

Unhealthy or unkind?

Do they bring out the worst in us

Or bring us peace of mind?

The system whole must be observed

To see what causes what

Or else the complications will

Remain all tangled up.

For enemies, just like disease,

Are symptoms: something’s wrong.

Repair what does provoke them and

You’ll build a friendship strong.

Across the sea in Mexico

No woman would depend

Upon her husband for her wealth

Nor for her self-respect.

Each woman could afford to hire

Help within the home.

Poor moms need not tend children of

The rich but raise their own.

The Wayuu of Colombia

Could live without alarm

That families will be massacred

With holes from bullet swarms.

By men who from the government,

Police and private thugs,

Seize for themselves the coast for fossil

Fuels and smuggling drugs.

And work for human rights in countries

Like El Salvador

Would not be targeted by groups

Who profit more from war.

Then in the mid-Pacific where

The natives are in grief,

Kept out of sacred land that is

now navy property,

Hawaiian native women would

Return to visit land

Of ancient gods and goddesses

Test-bombed by US planes.

The toxins in Pearl Harbor dumped

As military waste

Would all be cleaned so fish could breathe

And beauty not erased.

In US stores we’d witness rows

Of magazines on racks

Of women not in swimsuits showing

pubic bones and breasts.

We wouldn’t cover woman and

Reveal only her eyes,

Nor lay her bare for all to see,

Cheap flesh, demeaning lives.

And all strip clubs would be stripped down,

Their women given jobs,

Positions of great dignity,

Not work for two-faced slobs.

We’d recognize that women whether

Shrouded or displayed

Have hearts and minds that are submerged

In cultures’ one-track ways.

And shackled wisdom of our land

From cultures that were free

Would resurrect itself, a gift

For all humanity.

Lakota mothers and Diné

Would finally realize

A family life without despair,

Depression, suicide.

Full bonds with nature, spirit sparked,

Again community,

No disconnection with the heart,

The spirit, mind, body.

With hunger gone, no poverty,

The chance to regain rights,

No need to turn to drink and drugs

When meaning’s back in life.

∞∞∞

On Mother’s Day we’d recognize,

Confirm equality

Between the genders, age, and class,

At work, in families.

We’d pay the waitress, teacher, nurse,

And secretary, too,

A wage much higher than those who

Sell weapons, drugs, and fuel.

For weapons sales would be exposed

As selfish business games

To not resolve but push for war

With profits as the aim.

And alcohol’s dark role in death,

So many homicides,

Would firmly be acknowledged and

Its sale not be advised.

We’d help the homeless, feed the poor,

And not expect one class

To serve the needs of higher-ups

While their needs pass unmet.

Our presidents, their spouses would

Not sport designer dress;

Instead they’d pay a good wage to

A hungry, poor seamstress.

And males and females would maintain

Reciprocal respect.

Girls would not hurt and put down boys;

Boys would not girls reject.

The women wouldn’t serve beneath

The men in any church

Or mosque or synagogue as if

Their spirits had less worth.

Yet women who are leaders would

Gain power not because

Their vicious qualities have replaced

Caring, joy, and love.

For in the workforce people would

Lead democratic lives

And not be trampled by a boss:

Cold tyrant, warm disguise.

For if we’re a democracy

But plod to work each day

In fiefdoms of a monarchy

With meager voice and pay,

How can we then experience

The feeling that we’re free,

Where each voice is of value and

We’re cared for equally?

∞∞∞

On Mother’s Day our care for kids

Would not be thrown between

The cooking, dishes, laundry, but

Receive deserved esteem.

And raising children would be viewed

As life’s most precious role,

Requiring endless love and time,

A giving of the soul.

We wouldn’t raise our children to

Crave power more than love,

Beat, scold, and dominate them to

Instill a fear of us.

For how we treat them now will lead

To future consequence;

If we want loving adults then

To start with us makes sense.

If we want men to love their wives

We’d better love our sons,

And not raise them to hate themselves

Without love, joy, and fun.

For if a boy learns to relate

In terms of fear’s control,

He’ll see no other choice but

Domination when he’s old.

Over his wife, over his friends,

The pattern will run deep;

He’ll dominate all foreigners

And those of other creeds.

If he learns that his status and

His wealth are paramount,

He’ll only strive for power thinking

Love and joy don’t count.

∞∞∞

On Mother’s Day life would be more

Than time for work and chores:

We’d all have time for hobbies, pets,

And for the wild outdoors.

We wouldn’t split the family with

Each member heading for

A different job, a school, and

Reuniting not before

The gloaming when at last they come

Fatigued from weary days,

With little energy for love,

No spark to laugh or play.

The schools would open later and

Give children needed sleep,

Instead of living days fatigued

Like uncharged batteries.

Instead of tests and punishments

Class sizes would be small,

For learning grows when love has time

To help scared kids feel tall.

With so much sadness, so much hate,

The question should not cease:

Should needs for academics so

Eclipse our need for peace?

For while a core of knowledge can

Do wonders for our world,

There comes a point where more classtime

And homework are absurd.

So classtime would be cut in half;

The children could unwind

And wade in brooks and skip some stones,

Ride horses, jump, and climb.

And those kids who prefer more school

Could happily remain

For teachers’ help, class, clubs, and gym,

A half-day freely gained.

But if the light of freedom is

Snuffed out from children’s days,

Before too long the zest to care

For learning fades away.

For while those lacking schools may have

Much thirst to learn at will,

When schools are overwhelming

Overload can make us ill.

And while we pay much money to

Insurance industries,

We’d probably have better health

If things like this could be.

On Mother’s Day life would not be

A selfish race for pay,

For grades, for profits, numbers, but

A time to care and play.

And on that day our children would

Be more than cogs in wheels

That turn the global marketplace

And work for others’ deals.

Pursuing values that should never

Be priorities,

of militarized space, control,

greed, wealth, and vanity.

For when demands on children and

adults do prove too much

and replace joy and love with stress

our wisdom’s turned to dust.

And while the bell curve’s going up

Our culture may seem sound,

But when the excess leads to grief

We plummet to the ground.

∞∞∞

Then suddenly in Europe all

The ancient toppled shrines

Of Mother Earth the Goddess would

Be righted, unconfined.

And Mother Earth would take her place

Above all human beings,

Not subject to harsh vagaries

Of man-made deities.

We’d recognize the beauty of

The Earth without the stains

Of human excavation, mines,

And highways multi-laned.

We’d shun atomic energy

And fuels of fossils, too,

Abhor their deathly toxins and

Their ugly residues.

Before invading Arctic lands

They’d ask us if it’s wise

To drill for fossil fuels that are

The cause of melting ice.

Before constructing one new road

Or store or parking lot,

They’d ask us if we mind yet one

More shattered habitat.

The population we’d reverse

The growth to smaller size:

No Goddess would intend for us

To live while all else dies.

With Mother Earth as Goddess we

Would fervently exclaim

That land is much too beautiful

To spoil and profane

With bombs and blood of those who in

War’s unholy pursuit,

Believe their cause is nobler than

The Earth that they pollute.

The painting of the mother with

Tears streaming down her cheeks,

Who bravely hugs her son goodbye

To play war’s drumming beat,

We’d paint that over to reveal

The wisdom of her heart

In knowing that her child should stay

And not for war depart.

Sons would not be conscripted nor

Be registered for war

to lose the very freedom they

allegedly fight for.

To serve in war by force within

A nation labeled free,

Enticed to register with offers

of college degrees,

Is lower than a nation proud

Should shamelessly descend

While undermining promises

Of freedom in the end.

For what true good can come of war

If it recycles hate

And falsely teaches lessons that

Our foes deserve their fate?

If we learn that the enemies

Are lacking in remorse,

Our conscience never pricks us when

We kill with total force.

If we learn that the enemies

Cannot be understood

And that we would not be like them

If in their shoes we stood,

Then we won’t know a Mother’s love

For all her children round.

We’ll never learn the view from in

The sky when looking down:

Upon us all, our faults and strengths,

how we antagonize

Each other and then claim we’re right,

The other misaligned;

To see all of our weaknesses

As faults to meet with love,

To see through hatred to the fear,

And through that to distrust.

If children cheat, use drugs, or lie

A mother still can see

The goodness in them and just why

Such problems are conceived.

To kill or stun with taser guns

Just escalates the stress,

When what the victim needs the most

Is love and peacefulness.

To bomb them, hate them, does no good;

It’s better patiently

To kindly guide them to the sun,

For they have faults like we.

To bolster war, believe in hate

Is blasphemy to Her,

The Mother Earth the Goddess who’s

Now crushed beyond all words.

Yes, cards and flowers mean so much,

But it would mean much more

To share a planet where love reigned

And beauty, joy, not war.

Until events like these arise

I’ll know that Mother’s Day

Is shallow consolation for

A world not gone Her way.

Kristin Y. Christman is author of The Taxonomy of Peace. She has degrees in Russian and public administration from Dartmouth, Brown, and the University at Albany. She wrote Mother’s Day in May 2015. https://sites.google.com/site/paradigmforpeace