Home » One Shot Wednesday » Matrilineal


Grace Cowan Smith

Tracing a line back

mother to mother to mother.

Family names lost to history

with their marriage.

Bearing future generations

a legacy to their husbands.

Who saves the mother’s name?

Who passes her family on?

Mother to daughter to daughter.

Stories told while baking bread

or learning to stitch a hem.

Neatly written names on the

inside cover of the Holy Bible.

Helen Milleson Perin

This is for my grandmothers.  I’m sharing this with the poets at One Stop Poetry.  From their blog:

Here’s how One Shot Wednesday Works:

1.  Write an original poem and post it to your blog

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4.  Go visit others that have posted. This is a great way to learn new forms, meet new poets, and gain inspiration for your next piece. Though this is not mandatory we encourage you to visit at least one other poet and give some helpful feedback.

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17 thoughts on “Matrilineal

  1. lovely… in the Philippines, it is common to carry the mother’s maiden name like a middle name after marriage. For example: my mom: Remedios Hila(this was her mom’s maiden name) Datur (this was her maiden name) Sambs(this is her married name). I have done the same when I sign any of my art work…Maria Sambs Botelho. But, I also carry my mom’s maiden name on other things…Maria Datur Sambs Botelho….

    I love these old photographs too! When were these taken?

    Blessings & Aloha!

  2. Oh…so nice, Teresa!! I have often wondered why it has to be this way… (the patriarchal system, I mean) I think you have answered me here, my dear… mothers have a special and unique way of passing on their ‘name’ down the lineage… and their way is incomparable indeed!!
    “Neatly written names on the
    inside cover of the Holy Bible.” — yes, that says it all…. very nicely expressed, my friend…
    Thanks for sharing this beautiful ode to moms and to womanhood on the whole!!

  3. Human culture was matrilinear for the million-year dreamtime before recorded history; that kind of reckoning just doesn’t wash away. Names may rule the conscious world, but the unconscious world is uternine. The Mothers rule everythng we don’t or can’t know. A great place to descend into … – Brendan

  4. This is a nice tribute to your grandmothers and Matriarchiety. (I think I’ve just invented that work)

    They were both pretty ladies. LOVE Grace’s long hair, the kind a man could swoon over. (And no doubt some did!)

  5. The photos are amazing, Teresa. Two beautiful strong women.

    “Stories told while baking bread
    or learning to stitch a hem.
    Neatly written names on the
    inside cover of the Holy Bible.” – so lovely. Some of the best conversations I ever had with my mom have been in the kitchen doing routine things.

  6. A fine dedication to family, and the ancestors gone before…always interesting to see how the family has progressed through the years. Genealogy – always a fascinating thing. To see what went before, what passed on…so many mysteries to be unfolded.

  7. very nice…i like the intimate moments of sharing those stories passing on the things the women need to know to one another who they are and where they came from…very nice write.

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