Monday, November 22, 2010

a time, a tribe, a war

Poem for a Daughter

"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 judgment 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.

From Anne Stevenson
Poems 1955 - 2005
©2005 Bloodaxe Books

*Ella, 5 days old. By Nye.


  1. Gorgeous. Miss Ella and the words.

  2. Now I'm teary. Hello Peonies' baby. My daughter made me a mother. Some things are indelible.

  3. what a beautiful baby ^^

  4. oh those wee little ones that both break and melt our hearts....often at the very same time.

    welcome to the world unknown - it's yours to explore.

  5. Beautiful and so tiny! Now I understand just a little what my mother feels for me. Looking forward to that all consuming feeling.

    thank you xxx

  6. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. <3

  7. I'm so glad I checked, just in case. A beautiful baby and a poem that made my eyes prickle and the little hairs on my arm stand up. wishing all of you such happiness xx

  8. God. That blonde fuzz just kills me :)

  9. This touches me.

  10. Just perfectly, achingly beautiful. Both Ella and the words.

  11. Beautiful notion; a child creates a mother. So simple and obvious, but something I'd never thought of.

    And what a sweet little face! Truly lovely.


play nice.