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REJOICE OLD MOTHERS! by Jennifer Hawley-Zechlin


Motherhood begins with the birth of a child, or so I thought…

 This year, as my daughter turned 18, I was struck with the idea that Motherhood is an on-going continuum - one that spanned generations and reaches back to the beginning of time and forward into eternity.

Our children grow, and leave home, and some will eventually join us in the journey of motherhood: a journey that we are all a part of. This poem speaks of that journey - or at least a small part of it.


Rejoice Old Mothers!

Rejoice Old Mothers! 
Rejoice and wear white. 
Delight in your sagging breasts, 
once round and full, 
now flat against your long chest. 
Your babies round and full instead. 

Rejoice Old Mothers! 
Rejoice and wear green. 
Take pride in the ache setting in, 
and the wrinkles forming on your hands. 
Hands that have tended gardens 
and buttoned coats. 
Hands that have held the future and rocked her to sleep. 

Rejoice Old Mothers! 
Rejoice and wear brown. 
Admire your aging face. 
Eyes still bright, now with drooping lids, 
lines turning to crevices all too soon. 
Framed by tufts of gray. 
This is the face that bravely squared the world 
and turned toward the Sun on Summer holidays. 
These are the eyes that sparkled brighter than the Christmas lights 
and watched as babies were weaned to solid food 
and weaned again to Life with solid footing, 
Before becoming young mothers - 
and fathers - 
Someday. 

Rejoice Old Mothers! 
Rejoice and wear purple. 
Wrap yourselves in cloaks of velvet 
And crown yourselves with golden gratitude. 
For you, Old Mothers, are the queens of this world, 
And the heirs to your throne shall someday wear yellow 
and hold your legacy in their hearts and homes.
Rejoice Old Mothers! Rejoice!


Jennifer Hawley-Zechlin: “I am an amateur poet, forever student, lover of life, and professional dreamer and thinker.  I live with my partner of 24 years and our 16 year-old daughter in the mountains of Southern California where we are kept by a couple of dogs, a silky black cat, and a hen with attitude. Professionally, I have just begun seminary classes in addition to a couple of classes for pleasure.  I work as an ordained chaplain for a large international inter-faith community and am involved with a non-residential monastic order based on creativity, meditative practice, and soul friendships as a founding member where I am helping to form the curriculum and program of formation. I read far too many books, experiment with painting and drawing, and sing, badly and joyfully, in the middle of the night. I enjoy anything that connects me to life itself, feeling strongly that everything is a bit interconnected and truly awe producing, if only we can open ourselves to seeing the beauty in it all.  I can be found on Facebook here and more of my writing can be found at The Anthology of Oaken Grace.

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  1. One of my all time favourite poems. Thank you for sharing!

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