Sunday, July 16, 2006

Mothers, Daughters, Wives

A comment by Rhapsody to my July 12 post reminded me of a song. I had forgotten the title, but some Googling enabled me to locate it and the lyrics:

Mothers, Daughters, Wives
A song by Judy Small©1983 Crafty Maid Music ©1990 Larrikin Music Publishing Pty Ltd

The first time it was fathers the last time it was sons
And in between your husbands marched away with drums and guns
And you never thought to question you just went on with your lives
'Cause all they'd taught you who to be was mothers, daughters, wives

You can only just remember the tears your mothers shed
As they sat and read the papers through the lists and lists of dead
And the gold frames held the photographs that mothers kissed each night
And the doorframes held the shocked and silent strangers from the fight


And it was twenty-one years later with children of your own
The trumpet sounded once again and the soldier boys were gone
And you drove their trucks and made their guns and tended to their wounds
And at night you kissed their photographs and prayed for safe returns

And after it was over you had to learn again
To be just wives and mothers when you'd done the work of men
So you worked to help the needy and you never trod on toes
And the photos on the pianos struck a happy family pose


Then your daughters grew to women and your little boys to men
And you prayed that you were dreaming when the call-up came again
But you proudly smiled and held your tears as they bravely waved goodbye
But the photos on the mantelpieces always made you cry

And now your growing older and in time the photos fade
And in widowhood you sit back and reflect on the parade
Of the passing of your memories as your daughters change their lives
Seeing more to our existence than just mothers, daughters, wives


And you believed them.


  1. Gee Nick, I was writing & lost the comment- so if you end up with two, please forgive~

    Will show this sad ballad to my mom & my aunts, who have gone through this repeatedly throughout their lives-

    Thank you!

  2. RHAPOSDY: It's a good song, as are many by women folk-song composers. Being turned on to the “Women’s Music” genre is one of the good things I received from my ex-wife.

  3. I remember that song, but just barely. The end says a lot about the changes we have made through the years.