April 29, 2020

Can a mother protect her children from suffering?

Julie Barker

SpokenMessiness is a grown up thing, 2020

Can a mother protect her children from suffering is the question I explore in my poem which is read by my longtime friend, Gretha Brazelle. My daughter turned 13, during the most fraught and challenging time of my life. I took to walking in the woods near me as a way of coping. On the eve of her birthday, worried that I had nothing to give her I decided to compile a list of everything I was currently experiencing during my time of crisis, in the hope that I could protect her from the same thing happening in her life. I wrote a list of what was probably the most complex and frightening emotions known to humanity! Then I asked myself whether she would even relate to my suffering, and surely she would inevitably experience her own unique difficulties which are, I realise now, gifts to grow us all. So, I wrote a poem which both asks and answers this question. During this journey Gretha walked alongside me in spirit. She has known my daughter from birth so it felt fitting that she bring this experience to life with her beautiful voice for both of us.