Sunday, June 18, 2006

Poem for a daughter Mother

I kept this poem ("Poem for a Daughter") when it was published in the Guardian thinking of my own daughter and how she has transformed my life - and me. Its been getting tatty and yellowed on our fridge door along with timetables and learning objectives and shopping lists and magnetic messages and STUFF.

In fact, writing this, I now have to go and take a photo of our fridge door. Is there anything interesting on your fridge?

The magnetic messages say such things as:

"I wish the dangerous orange hippopotamus boy better poop."

"the king is very small so feed that baby buns 4 tea."

"and the loveable old yellow bear plays with the lion who can make beautiful new socks."

You may also have spotted an armadillo fridge magnet.
Naturally.

Here it is, dillo No. 28:

Texas Turkey - because apparently dillos (frequent road-kill in Texas) taste like chicken turkey.

A claim which I don't plan to authenticate.

The experience of being a mother/having a daughter has also immeasureably deepened my love and understanding and appreciation for my own mother.

I will be spending a few days with my mum, and so will be absent from bloglandia for a while. In the meantime, here is the poem:


Poem for a Daughter

by Anne Stevenson

'I think I'm going to have it,'
I said, joking between pains.
The midwife rolled competent
sleeves over corpulent milky arms.
'Dear, you never have it,
we deliver it.'
A judgement years proved true.
Certainly I've never had you

as you still have me, Caroline.
Why does a mother need a daughter?
Heart's needle, hostage to fortune,
freedom's end. Yet nothing's more perfect
than that bleating, razor-shaped cry
that delivers a mother to her baby.
The bloodcord snaps that held
their sphere together. The child,
tiny and alone, creates the mother.

A woman's life is her own
until it is taken away
by a first particular cry.
Then she is not alone
but part of the premises
of everything there is:
a time, a tribe, a war.
When we belong to the world
we become what we are.


(published in 'Staying Alive: Real Poems for Unreal Times ed. Neil Astley. Bloodaxe 2005)

29 comments:

ramblingwoman said...

Well, I've stood at our fridge many times (as you know), and I can't remember ever having read this poem or if I did, it never seemed so poignant as it does now.


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ramblingwoman said...

I meant YOUR fridge!!!

Calamity Tat said...

hahahaha, that's the sound of Luce cracking me up again!!
Speak to you when you get back, love to you X

Kitty said...

Your fridge looks a lot like ours. We have the rude version of those magnets. Shearer likes to knock them off onto the floor and sometimes they attach themselves to the buckle of my shoe and I find myself at work with "tits" on my right foot and "arse" on my left - or worse. When visitors come we have to scoop them all off the fridge and hide them (some of them are very vulgar) but one always appears at just the wrong moment, the cat pushes an orgasm out from under a chair and bats it about on the kitchen floor just as some elderly easily shocked type enters our kitchen.

Must build some bridges with my daughter, she is back for a week later today.

Speak to you when you are back.

xxx

euro-trac said...

Yes, I will speak to you when you get back too...

Over a wheat beer perhaps!? :o)

Jay said...

When you don't have kids, magnetic poetry tends to be a lot raunchier.

ramblingwoman said...

What is le Chat like! They certainly have a surfeit of orgasms in that house!

Where can I get obscene magnetic poetry?

GC PHILO said...

Well, I can verify the texas Turkey claim! Nothing better for Sunday lunch than a nice roasted dillo corpse!

euro-trac said...

Eeeeek!

Donna said...

I shall have to take a pohoto of my fridge. It is mostly covered with photos of the Joseph clan!

ramblingwoman said...

Sadly I can't join in the fridge photo thing as ours is inbuilt (in our rented house) and the other is in the garage. (sad face)

Kitty said...

It is simply not possible to have a surfeit of orgasms. Have tried for about 20 mins to think what the word for that is - when two words don't go together but can't think of it. Not enough coffee obviously!

RW: Not sure where the magnetic letters come from - they were a present. But Meg has some from the same set - hers are Shakespeare ones, quite funny, but not so rude. Will ask her if she knows where they are from.

You back yet, Letty?

lettuce said...

oxymoron!

ramblingwoman said...

hello letty, you're back!!

euro-trac said...

So.... when's the shed opening ceremony then?
:o)

ramblingwoman said...

Wherefore art thou oh letty? Witchy weaving or in your shed?

Molly Bloom said...

I wish we had a big fridge. I have to get down on my knees to look into mine. I hope you get the Dick ok. Tee hee. I sent it off this morning...

And that poem is lovelyxxx

Molly Bloom said...

I wish we had a big fridge. I have to get down on my knees to look into mine. I hope you get the Dick ok. Tee hee. I sent it off this morning...

And that poem is lovelyxxx

Calamity Tat said...

Hello Letty.... Hope your little time away was pleasant, I was thinking of you... Not long now....so glad you like your bag and this seasons must have dog!

Better Half said...

Hello! Too pissed to say anything else for now.

Kitty said...

Pah, we had better weather in Manchester!

Kitty said...

Ooooh, how weird. There's Ruth! She's everywhere these days.

PG said...

What a lovely poem, my eyes have gone all prickly...

cream said...

In my fridge, there's Lettuce, Lettuce and more Lettuce....She's so cool!
Salads...Salads...I'm turning into a salad!!!

lettuce said...

oooh lucky me!

muddy red shoes said...

Ho Lettuce, the bunnies didnt eat my garden, just off to pick some lettuce... I shall look out for the string blog. xx

muddy red shoes said...

Ps...loved the poem

Kitty said...

Hello! Gala was blissfully short and although Renee didn't win anything I had a good time. Found someone nice to chat to which was unexpected.

I'm surprised Ruth hasn't been blogging in my absence but she is glued to the footie.

Hope you're having a flouncy evening!!

DL
xxx

Better Half said...

Hello Lettuce. And good night
BH
x