Originally posted May 13, 2007:
The celebration of Mother’s Day originated with poet Julia Ward Howe, as a movement for women to fight the devastation of war and to show the way towards peace. Today’s sentimental-flowers-&-Hallmark-card bedecked event hardly measures up to the fiery rhetoric of the day’s founding mother…
Julia Ward Howe’s Mother’s Day Proclamation – 1870
Arise then…women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
“We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”
From the bosom of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: “Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.”
Blood does not wipe out dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
At the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace…
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God –
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.
I think it’s great that you post this. It’s finally getting around too. Even here in Idaho Falls we’re having a peace rally tomorrow to celebrate Mother’s Day. Hallmark hijacked it, but maybe we can take it back yet.
That is the BEST! I know the female poets of the abolition era are a bit dated, but that’s one of the reasons I love them. They’re stuff is just so fun.
Always appropriate. Thank you.