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When Mama Sings

(Mother’s Day 2010, for my Mama)

When Mama was a little girl,

she’d climb up a pecan tree and spend the whole day just singing in the tree tops.

Most folks thought she sang like a beautiful bird,

but not her own mama,

or her granny.

She’d climbed that tree to get away from them in the first place.

Away from the rules

“don’t you know that girl’s who wear shorts go to hell.”

“Stop that singing, that’s the devil’s music.”

Up in that pecan tree she could just sing.

God’s music, the devil’s music, didn’t matter to mama,

to her it was just music.

It was in her and wanted to get out, didn’t matter if anyone was there to listen or not.

Mama doesn’t climb pecan trees anymore, but

mama still sings. Mama always sings.

Sings early in the morning when sane folks are still abed.

“I think God made us to sing in the morning just like the birds.”

Made me understand why people shoot birds.

But most of the time I like it when mama sings.

If you go to karaoke bars round here

you are bound to run into her.

Most of the time she wouldn’t stand out,

just another middle aged woman out to escape the humdrum of a life

that never turned out the way she wanted.

Sure, you might say she has a lovely voice,

but you’d walk away unchanged.

But then again,

sometimes, if the mood is right, and the song is right,

It’s just like when she was a little girl up in that pecan tree.

She’s not singing for you.

She’s not even really singing for her,

She’s just singing cause she’s mama,

If you catch her on one of those nights,

and if you close your eyes and listen,

when mama sings,

you can hear the voice of God.

Categories: Poetry
  1. May 9, 2010 at 5:37 am

    Nice. This poem gets better each time. I really like the conversational tone of the poem. Love the image of a girl in a tree singing like a bird. Also love the poignant lines that avoid sappiness yet are so touching. Great job.

  2. Annymay
    May 9, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    did you write this nate

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