Friday, July 15, 2011

Mothers, Daughters, Wives

Judy Small

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The first time it was fathers
The last time it was sons
And in between your husbands
Marched away with drums and guns
And you never thought to question
You just went on with your lives
'Cause all they taught you who to be
Was mothers, daughters, wives

You can only just remember the tears your mothers shed
As they sat and read their papers through the lists and lists of dead
And the gold frames held the photographs that mothers kissed each night
And the doorframe held the shocked and silent stranger from the fight

It was twenty-one years later with children of your own
The trumpets sounded once again, the soldier boys were gone
So you made their guns and drove their trucks and tended to their wounds
And at night you kissed their photographs and prayed for safe returns
And after it was over you had to learn again
To be just wives and mothers when you'd done the work of men
So you worked to help the needy and you never trod on toes
The photos on the pianos struck a happy family pose

Then your daughters grew to women and your little boys to men
And you prayed that you were dreaming when the call-up came again
But you proudly smiled and held your tears as they bravely waved goodbye
The photos on the mantelpiece, they always made you cry
And now you're getting older, and in time the photos fade
And in widowhood you sit back and reflect on the parade
Of the passing of your memories, how your daughters changed their lives
Seeing more to our existence than just mothers, daughters, wives

From Judy Small's 1982 album, A Natural Selection.

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