An International Women’s Day tribute

Clara Lolita Roberts Abernathy

O mother, your womb
my first home
(in which
flesh and spirit –
yea, human will and God’s intent –
were knit)
without which
all else is naught.

For this, I give thanks to you
and the God Who made thee
and me.

Yea, too, I give thanks for your wisdom
and loving-kindness unbounding,
in my ev’ry conscious thought,
in ev’ry memory waking,
in ev’ry dream recreating
lessons taught
by you,
O my mother,
my flesh-and-soul-maker,
my primary teacher,
my principal advisor,
my foundational mentor.

On this day,
ev’ry day,
I breathe your honor
in ev’rlasting

5 thoughts on “An International Women’s Day tribute

  1. What a fabulous poem and tribute to your mom!! You’ve created an amazing portrait of this Fabulous and Faithful woman for those of us who never met her!!

    Much love!


  2. Dear Paul,

    Your poem to your mother is also a wonderful tribute to womankind on International Women’s Day. Thank you for sharing it, and her, with your readers. It brought to mind one of my all-time favorite pieces of music/writing, Bobby McFerrin’s heartstopping version of Psalm 23. Do you know it?

    I wish you and that incredible woman with whom you share your life and your home a blessed International Women’s Day.




  3. Thank you, Karen. As I contemplated International Women’s Day, yes, surely, there are manifold women, of course, Pontheolla being not the least of these, who came to mind and heart of and about whom I might have written. This realization led me, perhaps not surprisingly to my mother who was, is, and always will be my first woman – the one who shaped me, literally and metaphorically, and formed my initial and lasting sense of womankind with all of its light and varied shades of shadow.

    Much love, always and in all ways, to you. And, yes, I am familiar with McFerrin’s rendition of Psalm 23. Soul-stirring to be sure.


    1. I came across this rendition on YouTube today directed by McFerrin himself somewhere in Europe, it appears. It touches me that he dedicated the piece to his mother, which is what your poem reminded me of.

      I hope you and Pontheolla are reveling in spring in Spartanburg.



  4. Bless you, Karen, and thank you for sharing this. I love McFerrin’s wondrous treatment of this psalm, especially his characterization of the divine as “she”. Much love


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