The Matriarch

Writer’s Note: The below poem was written in response to a poem read out during a creative writing workshop called, “Tell a Tale” conducted by the English Department of St Agnes College, Mangalore. And that was somewhere in 1999.

When I read it now, it scares me. I will never be a mother-in-law like this. I know all mothers-in-law are not like this. In fact, there are plenty of mothers-in-law who actually play an important role in saving their son’s marriage. And there are indulgent mothers-in-law who literally pamper their daughters-in-law. So with that disclaimer, I am posting the poem here. 

tigressNine months I bore him!

With pain I brought him

Wailing to the world

I changed his diapers

Kissed away his tears

With care I raised him

On milk of my breasts,

The products of my mind-

My views, feelings and thoughts,

My hopes, dreams and fears.

My own precious child!

Oh, my love and pride!!


Now, who is this?

Cunning, treacherous witch!

Intruder! Usurper!

Who wipes years of care

With youth, beauty, charm.

She haunts my Holy Home,

Steals my flesh and blood,

Possesses him, body and soul,

Dares call him her own


Firmly, I pull her down

And put my foot down.

I say, my boy is mine

And will ne’er ever be thine!

You may sigh and cry

And try and try

But my boy is mine

And will ne’er ever be thine!


Nine months I bore him!

To the world I brought him.

He sucked my milk,

Imbibed my thought

And this is what

Has shaped his life

And you, his wife

Should wait a while

Till you beget a son,

A boy for your own

And now just know

That mine is mine

And can ne’er ever be thine!


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