Mama Partridge by Sara Wright


I would like to think that there are not many women out there who have had a mother like mine, but I am sure there are more. It is often hard to break the silence of abuse, especially when it is so severe. After I finished this poem I felt guilty – like I had done something wrong… a wonderful aspect of aging is that we begin to see through the ruses and I knew my feelings were temporary.

The Woman Who Birthed Me Was Not My Mother

Dedicated to the Abandoned Child in Myself, a child that suffered what Indigenous peoples call Susto or Soul Loss. This state occurs when abuse is so severe the soul of a baby cannot incarnate in its own body, but hovers around it in a disembodied state. The only way to heal this wound is to be embraced and loved by family…

My Mother sacrificed

her only daughter

hung her on a cross

of shame and blame.

Stole her identity.

Obliterated her feelings.

Forced her to wear Black.

Death crouched in

the shadows.

And when daughter’s

 brother died

Revenge –

 daughter, already

 designated servant,

Silenced, Dismissed

 by the Sphinx,

her sibling’s ashes


to fry.

With Father’s death

after a memorial in red

  all who mourned,

daughter, aunt, uncle, cousin,

gathered together to

witness family loss.

Where were the two

grandsons her father


 Daughter buried his bones

in a Cedar grove

under mounds of snow.

Beavers knew,

were witness too.

Where were two grandsons

her father adored?

When a call came

Some years later

more lies were exposed.

Her brother

had never been buried…

“Do you want his ashes”,

 asked his namesake.

“Don’t expect me

to dig the hole”.

Year after year

in her dreams,

her brother wandered,

could find no place

to sleep or rest.

 Mother stole daughter’s children

distorted perspective,

told more lies.

Taking them for

her own, she

kept them

in bondage through guilt.

But her money

seduced them too.

Daughter, cast out

of the circle –


unspeakable grief

and isolation.

for years…

When her cousin

released her from hell

 with one conversation

 her father’s relatives

(the one she

had been taught

to scorn) took her in…

Folded back

into loving relationship

 by family

who embraced her,

she found her home

and a baby she adored!

When a stranger

announced he’d

 placed an image

of her brother

in the jaws of Whale

 whose bones sang

as he surfaced

under the Moon,

she knew

 a new story

was beginning

even as Daughter

became Old Woman…

 Changing Woman

was Born.



Cousin: “We’re family”!

Stranger: To be at this point is a privilege, to find meaning and life in death, rebirth, to witness the beauty of the spirit world, to find the eternal moment that transcends time.

Me: Today is my mother’s birthday (12/6) and as if to reinforce the importance of publishing this piece, mama partridge came for a visit in freezing rain and snow. Since she is one of my spirit birds I knew that I was being witnessed and encouraged by nature, the mother that loves me well.

Changing Woman is the mythological Mother of all the Navajos. She was born parthogenically.


Sara is a naturalist, ethologist (a person who studies animals in their natural habitats) (former) Jungian Pattern Analyst, and a writer. She publishes her work regularly in a number of different venues and is presently living in Maine.

Author: Sara Wright

I am a writer and naturalist who lives in a little log cabin by a brook with my two dogs and a ring necked dove named Lily B. I write a naturalist column for a local paper and also publish essays, poems and prose in a number of other publications.

6 thoughts on “Mama Partridge by Sara Wright”

  1. Heart-wrenching Sara. “Changing Woman was born” – What an image to hold onto to walk the healing path!

    I’ve always thought that pain is pain and comparing our own to others in the moment doesn’t make sense. But where I do think it matters is in the healing. The older the trauma and the deeper the wound, the harder the healing path is. I so honor the path you have walked and how you have sought out your own pathway with such courage and integrity.


    1. Thank you Janet. Your comments are consistently deeply meaningful and your presence is palpable….Changing Woman is such a powerful figure – she reminds us the circles grow wider and wider and rebirth is part of that process that extends to the great beyond… it isa relief to be able to be so honest… and to create space for a mother’s story that was never told… she not only silenced others she silenced herself.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for your words Sara. Really good insight that your mother not only silenced others but in doing so she silenced herself. A tragic cycle there and something for me to think about in relation to those who have silenced me through their lives.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh good Janet – I love to hear that you are examining the role of silencing – the worst part of silencing is that it hooks the one silenced and leaves holes in the fabric for us to fill.


  2. The bravery and honesty in this post shine through like diamonds. I’m sure your note about realizing the guilt is not yours will create healing for all those who have been through similar experiences. The service you are doing by writing about both your experiences and how you have come through them is so important. Your insight that the woman who birthed you isn’t your mother is also very profound. Our real mothers are those who nurture us, and only those who nurture us, and sometimes we can even mother ourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Carolyn thank you so much. Sometimes I think “oh no not another horrible family story” but then I remember what it would have meant to me to read stories like mine. It is so hard – I felt like I was so alone. Thanks be for your encouragement!


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