I remembered how she would each Thursday or Sunday bake sweet pudding ...
And except for Christmases (which shall never more with her be shared)
Then the aroma of sorell, her cakes, and her gungo-peas-rice slow cooking
Filled the house ... those puddings were the sweetest story of love.
They were her second job, and sometimes her shaggy windows had curtains
New, because she never was too lazy to figure her survival fresh, and to prove
That poverty does not deny us virtue, nor needs cry under strain of burdens
That love brings to our door. Yes poverty was her choice, but as queen
She lived ... now that's a gift, a gift from God, a tribute (recognized) from us.
Let me explain mother's royalty in two anecdotes, each an indelible scene.
How when I was five she walked the long Lacovia miles through sun and dust
From Montego Bay to Knoxwood to retrieve her child, hug me to her breast
And took me from my father's and grandmother's house, and from their trust,
While she was penniless; and taught me ambition in nothingness; taking no rest
To feed me expensive baby food until I was thirteen, spoiled me, so that I
Should not have missed what my father could afford with ease. It cost all. Then
There is the fact of me reading and writing for her till I
For college left her, in which time she got baptized. I returned and saw a pen
In her hand, she writing, and reading her Bible by herself; amazed
I asked "how?" She said, son when you climb the pole of knowledge
Remember those on the ground, do not judge people by rank or college
Greatness is wrapped in simple clothes sometimes. Give all their due praise,
And know I gave you the privilege to read for me, so you would always read
But the skills in my childhood house was instilled, a teacher's love did recedes."
She, clever as Anancy, and what simple strategies! Let her sleep now, great
Women wear simple clothes, Esther Veronica Jackson, I celebrate
Your life, your warrior spirit, your uncommon faith, sleep mother dear
I shall not forget you till the trumpet blows, and God dries my tear.