The Journalverse site selected Maria Gillan's poem, "Magic Circle" as one of its Poems of the Day this month.
The poem is from Italian Women in Black Dresses, a book that the site says is "Written to read like a memoir" in the way that it details the life of a family across generations and provides a moving and haunting portrait of the Italian mother who is the center around which this family revolves. But this is much more than a story about ethnicity; it transcends any single identity and explores instead the many ways in which people learn to identify themselves."
My mother drew her magic circle around us, led us inside
where we were always safe. She told us stories,
spinning the thread back between herself and her mother
and her mother’s mother and connecting that thread to us
her daughters and teaching us how to connect
the same thread to our daughters and granddaughters,
all those women baking bread and bearing children
teaching us to love ourselves, love them. The stories
save our lives, passing the meaning on from one
generation to the next, a silver thread, a silver
thread that strengthens us, all those women,
caught in our hearts, teaching us how to laugh,
how to make our arms into cradles
to hold each other and sing.
by Maria Mazziotti Gillan
Maria Mazziotti Gillan's most recent books are the poetry and photography collection, Paterson Light and Shadow and the poetry collection, What Blooms in Winter . Her collection of poems along with some of her paintings is The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets . Maria's official website is MariaGillan.com.