The Matriarch by Serafina Benedetti

By Serafina Benedetti | Instagram | YouTube

The Matriarch 

The matriarch of my family is wise and she is bold.
She knows the way of the woods, and has a heart of gold.
They whisper “she’s a witch,” and think she’s rather odd.
Then run to her when they are sick and don’t feel heard by god.

Our matriarch is independent and she is smart.
She can sometimes come across a little crude but she has a beautiful heart.
Always ahead of her time and her town, she was bossy they would say.
And when she left him because he hit her they would all turn her away.

Our matriarch is witty and she is swift.
It’s not her fault you can’t keep up with her humor and her quips.
She raised three amazing women, all on her own.
How many of you could do that alone?

Our matriarch is independent and she is smart.
She can sometimes come across a little crude but she has a beautiful heart.
Always ahead of her time and her town, she was bossy they would say.
And when she left him because he hit her they would all turn her away.

Our matriarch wears her hair like a crown.
It is fine and curly and, like her eyes, a warm shade of brown.
I used to wish my green eyes were brown like hers, you see.
Because there was no other woman more beautiful to me.

The matriarch of our family has a heart like an ocean.
She has been shamed for her empathy and deep emotion.
She is sensitive and somewhat fragile.
But her soul is strong and her spirit is quite agile.

She is her and she is all of those before her.

Photo courtesy of Imperfect.Witchery

I wrote this over the last year, while doing family research and connecting deeply with my Grandma Tutu, my great great grandmother. I never got to meet her but was very close with my Big Mama, her daughter. Both of these women were strong, independent, smart. Everything a woman was not supposed to be during their time and place.

I’m still not sure what possessed me to write this poem, but I can say I was deeply inspired by Dr. Maya Angelou. I had been listening to her talk about her own mother and grandmother, and the way they had influenced her and taught her about love. Her stories brought tears to my eyes as I remembered all the special ways in which the women of my family have taught me to love and be loved.

I reference five generations of women in my family in this poem, beginning with my great great Grandma Tutu and ending with myself. This poem is not fictional, but rather a cathartic telling of the pain, joy, suffering and love experienced by these women. Each of them has struggled yet made it through the struggles they faced.

I read once that although pain and trauma can be passed down through generations, there will also be those who will be strong enough to heal the wounds of their ancestors and thus heal themselves. It is my intent to be that person for my family, my matriarchs, and for all our future generations to come.

Photo courtesy of Imperfect.Witchery

About the Author: Serafina is a self taught, solitary witch. Her craft focuses on folk magic and traditions of my ancestors, mostly people of the Mediterranean, British Isles and Southern Appalachia. She is an INFP and empath. She enjoys philosophy, paranormal and mysteries, and staying in cooking with her family.

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