Ballad of an Old Woman by Frank Collymore

Barbadian poet Frank Collymore shares some life experiences of an old lady

There was an old woman who never was wed;

Of twenty-one children was she brought to bed,

Singing Glory to God.


She gave them all her poor means could afford

And brought them all up in the fear of the Lord,

Singing Glory to God.


As soon as they grew up, each sailed away

One after the other to the great U.S.A.,

Singing Glory to God.


Sometimes they thought of her, sometimes they wrote,

Sometimes they sent her a five-dollar note:

Singing Glory to God.


And when in the course of the long waiting years

The letters ceased coming, she dried her tears,

Singing Glory to God.


And when the old shed-roof collapsed from decay

She went to the Almshouse and walked all the way,

Singing Glory to God.


And there she mothered many motherless brats

Who slept on her shoulder and pulled at her plaits,

Singing Glory to God.


Then one day she sickened and next day she died;

They brought out the hearse and put her inside

Singing Glory to God.


Only weeds and nettles spring up from her clay

Who is one with the Night and the Light of the Day.

Singing Glory to God.


— Frank Collymore

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