14th May 2017

Unlocked Poems: On Mothers & Motherhood

By Kristy Wan


The excerpts below are from poems created with Red Room Poetry's Unlocked program. Unlocked finds poets and hip-hop artists in prisons running intensive creative, self-expression literacy programs that help inmates write their stories, share their stories and reconnect with their own communities. Find out more »

These selected poems all contain themes of motherhood. Of being mothers as well as sons and daughters. Mothers' Day is usually a celebration to honour mothers and their influence on their children and society as a whole. For these students, conversations with their mothers or children might be more difficult. Unlocked gave them the opportunity to work with poets and express these emotions, and many more.


                           Across the yard it's a foot race to the phone
                           Punch my pin number in and I hear the dial tone
                           Call Mum for some news from my people at home
                           To numb the feeling, the feeling of being alone 

                           ~ from ‘Group poem’ by SCCC Poets
                           South Coast Correctional Centre 2014


                           I live in the footsteps of the elders
                           My blood runs thick through my veins
                           From my mother and father
                           Like the creeks and the rivers of my land

                           ~ from ‘Sorry for the pain’ by Oliver S
                           Balund-a 2016


                           If motherhood was a mountain
                           And daughters were flowers
                           I could sit all day & watch
                           you grow.

                           ~ from ‘Motherhood’ by Ainsley W
                           Dillwynia Correctional Centre 2014


                           Mum broken-hearted, I was a full time Clown.
                           Missed all the warning signs, can’t stop me now
                           Proud + loud, no telling me now, I’m too tall
                           Reality hits when I’m behind a steal door
                           Got to make the call:
                           “Sorry Mum”. I ran into a brick wall.

                           ~ from ‘Brick Wall’ by Anonymous
                           South Coast Correctional Centre 2014


                           I come to your grave,
                           flowers in hand.
                           A big kiss
                           on your head stone
                           and say:
                           I love you mum.
                           I am sorry.

                           ~ from ‘I am sorry’ by Murray J
                           Dawn de Loas Correctional Centre Silverwater 2011


                           The cold hard sky brings the cold hard wind
                           Brings me back to the things I did
                           I bring my Mum shame but she’s not to blame

                           ~ from ‘Untitled’ by Stewart S
                           Balund-a 2016


                           My babies are no longer here,
                           However they do exist.
                           They just live in heaven now,
                           as angels with wings.
                           With God I know they’re smiling,
                           watching from above.
                           Soon I will make them proud,
                           Mummy’s just doing it tough.

                           ~ from 'Angels’ by Tracey G
                           Dillwynia Correctional Centre, 2014


                           It is something I learnt
                           with out being taught
                           in all the world
                           there is no other to take
                           the place of my dear Mother.

                           ~ from ‘My Mother’ by Macca
                           Mid North Coast Correctional Centre 2014


                           you have a beautiful heart and you are a beautiful woma
                            an’ I wish you were still here for this hard time I’m going through,
                           just like you always was.

                           ~ from ‘MUM’ by Ronald H
                           Balund-a 2016


                           I am no longer lost for now soon
                           to be again a mother but for now
                           a girl – a little girl that’s to be mine

                           ~ from ‘IT HURTS’ by Siale K
                           Silverwater Women’s Correctional Centre, 2016


You can purchase individual Unlocked anthologies from the Red Room Poetry store. All proceeds go towards funding future Unlocked programs.