Mother Tongue, a poem for prisoners

Anne Waldman is one of the poets of what was called “Beat Generation”. Friend, in particular, of Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Waldman was the youngest of the group. Born in Millville, New Jersey, she moves in MacDougal Street in New York’s Greenwich Village, when she was very small.

It was the sixties, the circle of young poets was wide and very creative, but she immediately tried to get into the circle of the “older” poets as Allen Ginsberg, the father of the Beat Generation, who once called her, his “spiritual wife”.

Anne Waldman wrote a poem for the Kurdish political prisoners on hunger strike since 12 September. We publish the poem here.

Mother Tongue

for the Kurdish political prisoners who are on a hunger strike, November 2012

When they rip out your Mother Tongue

They rip our the heart

For the tongue speaks from the heart against oppression

Against coercion

Against propaganda

Against death

Against sorrow

When they rip out the Mother Tongue

You’re like a child lost in the darkness

May the child always speak and understand its primordial sound

Its power, its infection, its wit, its wisdom, its luminous history

And grow in this

May the child not be in perpetual exile

May the weak be defended in the language of their own psyche

May all rights be respected, and the leaders who struggle

Never cease speaking in the language that moves mountains

That moves the spirit

That attests to the love and beauty of a people, strong in their heritage

This inalienable right, what they are born with, a cosmology, a poetry

Birthed in mother’s milk….

Anne Waldman

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.