Marta Bernabeu

What female figure has inspired you the most, and why?

“Abuelita”

She was motherless at the age of three

She lost her father at the age of seventeen

A child, who had a brother,

She had to leave school

Music – She understood its meaning blindly

She worked from morning to night, with such care

With such generosity

She helped run the family’s jewellery shop, but then

Her brother – as it was  

and they almost lost everything

She had so much to give, she gave it uncontrollably

Like a cascade

I feared she drained

I did not know that such a giant cannot fade

But then it came

When she truly lost everything, and I was in pain

She fought, brave, a war she could not win and yet

She still cared

Every day she woke up to take care of us

Devotedly

A most preferred faith

We grew up, but we didn’t forget

We won’t cut off your daisies

Now we cannot bear the inevitability

Of that powerful, uncontested, flickering light

Forgetfully tired, sliding away

There will be no greater love than yours, no greater strength,

Abuelita.

This short poem is dedicated to my grandmother, my abuelita. I’m genuinely in awe of how she overcame all the obstacles in her life, how she managed to cope with devastating pain and loss, and still have so much to give. Orphaned at a very young age, she had to live through a very repressive and patriarchal period, in which not only was she obliged to leave school to attend household duties, but she was also not allowed to inherit part of their family’s jewellery shop. Instead, despite her taking enormous care of the business for a couple of years, her brother lawfully inherited all of it and drank the money away. I don’t think she’s once told this story with bitterness towards him, though. If something, it has been with an incredible sadness that is surmounted everyday with the strength stemming from her passionate and caring soul. She went through one of the most intense suffering I’ve beheld when we lost my abuelito, seventeen years ago. I see in her eyes that she carries this painful burden every day, and yet, she has untiringly raised six children and eight grandchildren in the most loving way a human can possibly do. She has never complained of or needed anything, but she wished she could have studied music. I bet that if she had been given the opportunity, she would have been the most talented, dedicated and humble musician the world has seen…and daisies would have still been her favourite flowers.

Marta Bernabeu is a postgraduate studying English Literature and is an Erasmus exchange student from the University of Salamanca in Spain. 

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