The Grief Of La Llorona

La llorona


Easy for a mother to grasp La Llorona,

despite each mean version in the myth

about her motives for ‘killing’ her children.

Every mother gives her children up.

The child she would give her life for

can never be retrieved from the river of time.

Every mother becomes

a Woman in White, endlessly crying.

She is the mother who asks,

*What is sorrow and what is not sorrow?

They are dead who do not weep.

The child divine become the suffering man,

and La Llorona, a living Pietá.

The flowers cry when she passes

and remembers her child

running to bring his Mama a bloom.

*Do not think because she sings

her heart is joyful. One also sings from pain.

If you see her weeping under a tamarind tree

or if you see her singing,

the Banshee ghost, the grieving mother,

know her haunting comes from being haunted.

I, too, wander riverbanks,

and notice every child who reminds me

of the beautiful boy who vanished

into the magnificent man.

The door of my heart always ajar

to the baby, the toddler, the child

who will never again walk through.

My tears so vast they fill the oceans.

Every mother, La Llorona.

©Susa Silvermarie 2018


                *verses of the song

In Lila Downs’ interpretation of the song, she compares the legendary La Llorona’s loss with the Spanish invasion of Mexico resulting in the demise of indigenous culture. In her 2001 album, Border, Downs dedicated the song to the spirits of Mexican migrants who have died crossing the line.

Ed. Note: The above is most timely as the U.S. government has recently declared that many of the Mexican children held in custody along the border are “no longer eligible for re-unification with their parents.”


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