A Jamaican Child’s Mother’s Day Tribute

Shi used to seh

Children should be seen

And never heard;

And pickeney fi min’ dem business.

And wi used to shut wi mout

And listen.

Mama did love wi!

Shi taught us wisdom and patience


Shi used to seh

Come tan up inna di kitchen

And watch what mi doin

One day it aggo come een handy.

And wi used to push up wi mout

And watch and learn.

Mama did love wi!

Shi taught us how to be independent.


Shi used to seh

Wi fi listen to wi teacha,

And if wi get beaten

Shi aggo beat wi two time

pon top a it.

And we used to behave

And show respect.

Mama did love wi!

Shi taught us discipline


Shi used to seh

Wi fi study wi school work

And read til it kill wi,

And if wi neva dweet

She used to cuff wi inna wi head.

And wi used to read and read

til wi yeye dem sore.

Mama did love wi!

Shi taught us the value of an education


Shi used to seh

Wi fi lef grown people tings alone

And if wi come inna har house

Wid any young baby,

Shi woulda beat wi til wi sof’.

And wi used to fraid

Fi even look pon a bwoy too hard.

Mama did love wi!

Shi taught us to respect ourselves.


Some ah wi madda come and gone

Some ah wi madda dem still here

Noh matta how much beatin’

Noh matta how wi did poor

Noh matta how shi hard wi childhood was

Wi still deh love wi mama more

And moreMama wi love yuh!

About the author

Kerri-Ann M. Smith

Dr. Kerri-Ann M. Smith is an author and educator. She is an Associate Professor of English at Queensborough Community College, CUNY. She is a patois translator, a wife, and the mother of two beautiful little girls. She is a senior writer for jamaicans.com.