Poem: Womanness

kysha and mom

Kysha Brown Robinson reflects on the lessons her mother taught her. This poem is an excerpt from her essay, A Womanist Manifesto.



My mother taught me to love
Without Condition,
But with clearly voiced expectations.
Sometimes you get what you want.

My mother taught me
To work both hard and smart.
Everything free ain’t good;
And everything free ain’t free.

My mother taught me
To put down regret and walk away.
You gotta let some stuff go and live
Baby, let that go and just live!

I left home with promise and practices
To pray, to work, to serve
To dance with joy, to embrace what’s good
To depend on me and believe always
In myself and in my mother’s love,
Without condition.

I left home with plans and purpose
And stumbled upon the meeting place
Of certainty and circumstance,
Of what it means to come of age
Away from what’s familiar,
Out of reach of a mother’s eye
And a father’s baritone bravado.

In those days
It would be my friends who joined me
In a girl’s brave walk to Womanness,
Each putting her mother’s wit or wisdom
Into our blend of dreams and risks

And oughta be, Of chances, tries
And destiny, Of rise and win
And fail and find another way
Or learn, I would say, not to want
What I couldn’t have.

I hold my sister friends in sacred space
And save a place for others yet to come.