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Atta, D. (2012). Mother Tongue. Att: New Dir. in Psychother. Relat. Psychoanal., 6(2):151.

(2012). Attachment: New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis, 6(2):151

Mother Tongue

Dean Atta

Our mother has swallowed her tongue

Though selfish is never a word I could call mum

I feel she has been so by swallowing her tongue

To make it worse, our family holidays are always to her motherland

She forgets to translate even though she knows we don't understand

My sister and I, make do and get by on the meaning we can infer

From gestures and inflection, can never look to mum for direction

Mother has swallowed her tongue, shows no regrets on reflection

Stubborn, she refuses to see that she has wronged us not to teach

To give us the option, the basic right, of freedom of speech

With our grandparents, our aunts, uncles and our cousins

There are few shortcuts to understanding

Common language is a good paving stone

So when you can't speak the language of love

You realise you may be walking this path alone

Made in England, we're half this and half that

But they could more easily overlook that fact

If we could speak with our mother's tongue

Not let our skin speak for us

But join in the family chorus

I can't tell you why she would wilfully deny

Her daughter and her son

But she has swallowed it

And we are struck dumb

Our mother has swallowed her tongue.

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