About Pearl by Mary Gordon

Things I’ve thought about often the last few years…those mothers with your babes still very close…cuddling up under the crook of your arms each night…while you repeat again and again the words to child-books, ones like, "Are You My Mother?"….Huggle your little birds!  They grow!  They dress up for Murder Mysteries as Punkers…they kiss you quickly at the door, with their "Love ya Mums"!  Hold on for the whisper of a moment that they are in your close care!


These words taken from….




and so accurate in so many ways….


"Maria’s love of Pearl sears the page:

The greatest passion of her life seizes her when she first holds her baby. It is not gentle, not at all; it is a violent, predatory bird with a strong deep beak that lifts her, exhilarated, over treetops, swirls her dangerously, dangles her, turns her over and over, sometimes allowing her to soar in the plain ecstasy of sheer flight. The predator bird: she cannot explain it to anyone, this power and danger, the danger of being taken up entirely, whirled who knows where, then dropped, just anywhere at all. Why, she wonders, do people think that mother love is peaceful? The soaring and the drowning, the terror, the exaltation, the sharp bites of the beak in the soft skin at the back of the neck…

Every mother, I think, is pierced by those sharp bites, at least every mother who equips her daughter to leave home for the world. Gordon describes this pain exquisitely:

My own, my own: you had to say it, you could not keep from saying it. And yet children are not your own. For a while you think they are, as you clasp them safe. And then — how does it happen? — they have somehow wriggled free and they are riding on he bird’s back… You can’t get me! they shout, intoxicated by the height, their hair windblown, their cheeks burnished…. ‘I am not yours,’ they say…"

1 thought on “About Pearl by Mary Gordon

  1. Tonight..the story of choice is "Horton Hatches The Egg"…..I mean what I say, I say what I ment, an elephants faithful one hundred percent.
    My little bird is showing me for the first time…his need to try his little wings. It is just so hard to let go, even if it is just for the moment.
    Pearl is the book that I am reading slowly and saving every word…a wonderful read!
    I believe Motherhood is the greatest blessing of all, and when our birds fly off on their own, they always come back to the mother bird that filled their hearts full of love…. they never forget how to fly home.

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