Poetry for Brigid

It’s that time again! Here’s my entry for the Fourth Annual Brigad in the Blogosphere Poetry Slam. Happy Imbolc!


Beatrice Cenci was a young Italian noblewoman executed in 1599 (with her stepmother and elder brother) by the Pope because she was involved in the murder of her father, who had imprisoned and abused them.

Alimitra David wrote a poem, Beatrice of the Cenci, that takes place on the eve of the execution. In it, Beatrice calls out to her mother (who died shortly after her birth). As it is a long poem, I am only sharing the first and last stanzas. The entire poem can be found in Impulse to Fly (1998).


I don’t ask
that you
come to me here
to hold me and
cry as Lucretia and I
have done for
years I
don’t ask you to
come and be as
we are a

voice against his
will like my
smallest finger
against the
stone gate of
the courtyard

Mother I don’t
pray you back to
this place only
sing to me
from wherever you are

oh sing to me Mother
I will climb your voice
hand over hand
high over these
robed men who
curse me

sing tonight
for tomorrow they
will cut me loose
at last to fly from this
motherless place
this place of
fathers and
fathers and
more fathers


Mother do you
love me do
you love me
broken as I am
do you love my
feet my hands
my face do you
love me when I
hear you and

do you love me
when I can’t
listen when I
blind and deaf
in water with
no current was

it your voice in
my dream was it
mine calling names I
don’t remember when

this night will
become morning
I have heard
rumors of
morning of
sunrise and
figs ripening

Mother I call
to you not to
come to me here
only sing for me
wherever you are

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