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DUTY-BOUND by Shernaz Wadia

I wrote this poem long after my beloved mother passed away…

Even as kids, my siblings and I saw her and knew her as the epitome of self-sacrifice. All she got in return after our wonderful dad died were problems and health issues: chronic, painful, debilitating arthritis being one of them. We, her children did what we could to make life easier for her but our mother was always too worried about 'society'.

If there is one lesson we all learned from her example it was not to lose ourselves to the extent she (and even her younger sister) had done in their ‘addiction’ to put others before themselves. We know she understands and blesses us from wherever she is.

by Shernaz Wadia

duty-bound to a fault
parents and siblings,
husband and in-laws,
children and friends ~

their priorities
a desert storm that
tossed and twirled
whirled and swirled
entombed self-love
duty’s dunes above

she plunged headlong  
and duty, like maggots
in a dank grave
feasted lifelong
on reams and reams
of her secret dreams

she dunked herself
flesh, bone and sinew
and duty, like an ogre 
merciless, unremitting
chomped and chewed
her leisure, passions, self-care
his daily toothsome fare

duty-bound to a fault
aspirations skeletal
but spirit indomitable
epitome of altruism
she bequeathed a legacy
to replicate which is lunacy

Shernaz Wadia is a retired primary school teacher, and lives in Pune, India. Her articles, short stories and poems have been widely published in web journals and anthologies. She has published ‘Whispers of the Soul’, a collection of poems and “Tapestry Poetry” – a genre of poetry, developed by her and Israeli poet Avril Meallem. More about this form can be read here.  

~If you are interested in seeing your poetry appear in this blog, or submitting a poem by a woman that has inspired you, please click here for submission guidelines. I greatly look forward to hearing from you!~


  1. Duty-bound to a fault... is almost a trait of that generation.
    A great tribute to a mother Shernaz!
    I can identify myself with you.


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