The poem is about a lady prostitute, “The Mother” who due to the character of her work has had multiple abortions. Gwendolyn has wrote about the conventional lady of the night, Theses night lady’s often passed “The Mother” house when she was a teenager, looking back on reflection she found this attractive. Now she is much older and she understands the dangers and pain with the role. You can clearly see from her poem it’s from the heart, but she appears to write it for another lady, this lady had several abortions, we know this because this is how the poem starts. Line one and two “Abortions will not let you forget. “You remember the children you got, that you did not get”.
It’s a very powerful sentiment start to the poem, these are whole-hearted words. Gwendoline is a writer and you can feel the torture and sadness of “The Mother” she writes about. Or is it in reality herself she is aiming the poem at. This poem is aimed at a prostitute and the prostitutes’ feelings, the loss of her children that were aborted, the way they were treated. But most prominently of all it gives you a perception into, how these ladies survived through life, how she lived in a poverty deprived city, she had no choice due to circumstances beyond her control. But despite her lifestyle, these babies she loved and cherished with all her heart. The poem quite clearly shows the repentance, “The Mother” is feeling, maybe now she is older, wiser or even alone.
The words are sensed with such desire, with the first and second line of the poem, she is revealing how hysterical she is at aborting her babies. But it shows too how unconditionally she loved them, how much she dreamed of giving them a normal cherished life. It’s plain to see “The Mother” chose to abort more than once, maybe several as she refers to (children) rather than child. It can only assume that an early abortion was not an option, given the time and era I would assume that men would pay more for a pregnant prostitute. So it is obvious to see, the more she was in late stage pregnancy, the higher the price men would pay.
The next part of the poem, line twenty six, twenty seven and twenty nine, reads “you were never made” ”but that too I am afraid” “you were born you had a body you died” . This sends a strong message of how far pregnant she actually was, she was far pasts the legal abortion stage, so it could actually be said, no doctor or hospital would legally operate an abortion. So one can only assume she had the only option of a back door doctor, who unlawfully performed abortions. This would be very precarious for the baby, but her herself. Lines twenty two and twenty three state this unquestionably, “though why should I whine” “whine that the crime, was other than mine”. This poem echoes her absolute
Despair, she is suffering anguish, she describes how her prostitution, babies and life as she knew it still plagues each memory she has. You can see this in each and every line of the poem, she is still clearly disturbed by her past life and what she did and her children. She writes “I have heard voices of the wind the voices of the Dim” (children). To me the poem voices so much emotion, love and pain, but more so anger and regret. She uses the word “Dim” rather than abortion, Gwendoline describes the lady as soft and kind, she does this by writing “you will never neglect or beat them”. The poem free flows it’s easy to understand, and the emotion is so painfully. Although the poem is called the mother” she was never actually a “mother”, she was a prostitute, who never actually gave birth, but this lady loved these children unconditionally, that had never been born.
Gwendoline writes with such empathy and passion, and at first I thought she was writing for herself, it is an exceptional piece of writing and I don’t think anybody could read this and, not have their heart ripped open. The lady she writes about she is far from, a bad lady all you can see is “good” in the poem, she has so much regret, and so much love for her children. She accepts accountability for her actions, and deeply regrets her decisions she made in her life. What I find truly remarkable about this poem is the realism and imagination that has you gripped from the very first word to the last. The lady in this poem portrays herself as a “Mother”, yet it is visible through the lines of the poem that she was never actually a “Mother”.
She floats into reality and imagination of motherhood, and what would have been. She speaks as a “Mother” with sheer admiration for all her children. She shows so much remorse for the sordid acts her life gave her, nevertheless no matter how life came crashing around her she speaks as a “mother” of her unrequited love and passion for each and every one of her “unborn children”. The line “Abortions will not let you forget”, this sends a very strong message that this “Mother” has never disregarded what she did to her children. She lives each and every day with the deepest and darkest remorse, line 6 and 7 “you will never neglect or beat them”, “them, or silenced them with sweets.
If we look deeper into this line, it seems that maybe she was beaten as a child and bought with sweets, to silence what she saw. Line 11 illustrates how she could not bring herself, to say she had killed her children” I have heard the voices of my dim killed children” dim is used as her denial as to her abortion. It’s hard to put into context what stage of her life she is at in this poem, she imagines the lost children still exist , she envisages herself giving birth, she visualizes feeding them all through her breast, even hearing her children’s voices. Yet none of these children ever survived the abortion, not one cry was ever heard, line 20 clearly tells us she knows only too well if all the children had been born, their beautiful life’s would have been ruined “ if I poisoned the beginnings of your breaths”.