Friday, May 11, 2007

A pair of poems for Mother’s Day

I love my mom, but I’ve always thought of Mother’s Day as holiday promoted by the greeting card industry. Even as a mom myself, I just don’t get this whole thing. It’s nice to acknowledge our moms, of course, but the holiday is so loaded with saccharine expressions that are just a bit cheesy IMO. That said, I wanted to share two poems that I find meaningful on the subject of parents and parenting. One, “Warmth” is written by a child and the other “Grown Children,” is by New York Poet Laureate, Sharon Olds. Together, they have us looking ahead and looking backward…

By Richard Furst
Grade 10

I walked through the empty kitchen
to the door,
to leave the warmth of home
for the bitter-cold anxiety of
a Monday at school.
Ducking the old dogwood outside,
I heard a familiar call,
and turned to see my mother
waving me off to school,
sending me a small fire
to keep my heart a little warmer.

From Ten-Second Rainshowers: Poems by Young People compiled by Sanford Lyne. Simon & Schuster, 1996.

And pair with Sharon Olds’ poem about “Grown Children” which begins observing a baby toddling on the beach and ends with the lines:

Grown Children
by Sharon Olds

… And now our daughter
is asleep on the couch, not six pounds
thirteen ounces, but about my size,
her great, complex, delicate face
relaxed. And our son, last night, looking closely
at his sweetheart as they whispered for a moment, what a tender
listening look he had. We raised them
daily, I mean hourly—every minute
we were theirs, no hour went by we were not
raising them—carrying them, bearing them, lifting them
up, for the pleasure, and so they could see,
out, away from us.

From The Unswept Room. Knopf, 2002.

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