13 January 2015

Prayers for Mothers on Birthdays

Reverend Martin Luther King Sr and Alberta King at the funeral of Martin Luther King Jr.
 The Rev Martin Luther King Sr and his wife Alberta Williams King at the funeral of their son, 
Martin Luther King Jr,  Ebenezer Church Atlanta, 9 April 1968. Photo: CBS Archive/Getty Images

Thank the Mother on a person’s birthday
For preparing over 9 months and more.
Thank the Father on a person’s birthday
For giving sperm that caught the egg and more—
Maybe much more.  The chain of Mothers and
Fathers has no beginning and no end.

I always think of Mom on my birthday.
Dorothy is her name.  And this year
I googled Dr. King’s Mom on his birth-
day.   Alberta.  Who played the church organ.
Who when shot and killed was playing The Lord’s
Prayer: Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done.

Forgive us our trespasses as we for-
give those who trespass against us.
We pray.
For Mothers on Birthdays, grateful for love.
And if we are lucky or privileged
We have had their love for our first birthday.
And many happy returns of the day.

          A Prayer for Mothers on our Birthdays:
          May you never be forced to bury us.

Copyright © 2015 S.L.Chast 


Vandana Sharma said...

Yes , so true after all parents are the one who brought us in this world.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Oh my goodness, I didnt know any of this....I googled her. She was a source of strength after MLK's assassination, her other son drowned in his own pool one year later, and then she was shot as she sat at the church organ by someone who "hated all Christians." Unbelievable history that family lived through. I love your poem, and that you think of your mother on your birthday. Interestingly, my response to this prompt was birth as well, of a different kind. Cool poem, Susan.

Unknown said...

No surprise that such a mother gave birth to such a fine son.

humbird said...

Strength...not everyone comes to this world being brave...but learned and passed to your children the skill become stronger twice....I like to greet parents too on my friends/family birthdays. Thoughtful writing.

totomai said...

absolutely true. we should never forget our mothers during our special day. they survive to hear our first cry.

Eileen T O'Neill ..... said...


A most profound and deeply moving poem. The incidents in the world of today, most certainly bring the chances of mortality, a bit closer to mind. Dreadful for a child to preceed a parent...Significant dates afford times for happiness; to seemingly counter the sadnesses in life otherwise..


Myrna R. said...

Just the thought of my death prior to my child's makes my eyes water. How thoughtful of you to think of Dr. King's mother. How proud she must be. How sad she must be. May she have inner peace.

Old Egg said...

Fame, parenthood, love and so many more gifts...what two edged swords they are.

Hannah said...

Yes...so powerful, this prayer...the perspective and prayer you bring are poignant, Susan.

Thank you for the challenge.

Gen Giggles said...

Very nice thoughts to have for birthdays.

kaykuala said...

One often feels that these famous people are still alive. Not physically but for the cause they fought for! Great lines Susan!


Maggie Patti Barbara Frankford-Walton said...


Sreeja said...

very deep and strong....

Marcoantonio Arellano (Nene) said...

gracias for sharing this, Susan

Unknown said...

This is a great narrative into thanking the mother's and father's who decide to splendor this earth with more wonderful human beings.

Jae Rose said...

What a wonderful take....even if 'we' have issues with our mothers it is not a passing you can ever really not feel

Mary said...

So very, very true! If it were not for mothers (and fathers), where would anyone be? And good idea to think of one's own mother on one's birthday. Yes, sad when mothers have to bury their children. It shouldn't happen that way.....but, unfortunately, sometimes does.

rallentanda said...

Mothers live a deep imprint on our psyches right through our lives.To lose a child must be horrendous. One wonder how anyone recovers from that. Sensitive and moving poem.