Friday, May 11, 2007

POETRY FRIDAY: Poems about Mothers

Seeing that Mother’s Day is this coming Sunday, my mind turned toward poems about and for mothers. Here are the selections I have for you this Poetry Friday.

A Poem by Christina Rosetti

To-day’s your natal day,
Sweet flowers I bring;
Mother, accept, I pray,
My offering.

And may you happy live,
And long us bless;
Receiving as you give
Great happiness.

At American Life in Poetry: A Project for Newspapers by Ted Kooser, Poet Laureate of the United States 2004-2006

From What I Learned From My Mother
By Julia Kasdorf

I learned from my mother how to love
the living, to have plenty of vases on hand
in case you have to rush to the hospital
with peonies cut from the lawn, black ants
still stuck to the buds. I learned to save jars
large enough to hold fruit salad for a whole
grieving household, to cube home-canned pears
and peaches, to slice through maroon grape skins
and flick out the sexual seeds with a knife point.
I learned to attend viewing even if I didn't know
the deceased, to press the moist hands
of the living, to look in their eyes and offer
sympathy, as though I understood loss even then.
I learned that whatever we say means nothing,
what anyone will remember is that we came.

Read the rest of the poem here.

At The Poetry Foundation

by Nikki Giovanni

(These are the ending lines of Giovanni’s poem.)

she was very deliberately waiting
perhaps for my father to come home
from his night job or maybe for a dream
that had promised to come by
“come here” she said “i’ll teach you
a poem: i see the moon
the moon sees me
god bless the moon
and god bless me

i taught it to my son
who recited it for her
just to say we must learn
to bear the pleasures
as we have borne the pains

Read the rest of the poem here.

From To My Mother
by Wendell Berry

I was your rebellious son,
do you remember? Sometimes
I wonder if you do remember,
so complete has your forgiveness been.

So complete has your forgiveness been
I wonder sometimes if it did not
precede my wrong, and I erred,
safe found, within your love…

Read the rest of the poem here.

At Wild Rose Reader I have posted a sonnet by Christina Rossetti for my mother.

Happy Mother’s Day to all us mothers and to our daughters who may become mothers one day!


Libby Koponen said...

I love this post -- what a treat to find poems about mothers that aren't cliches. I didn't know any of these (including the sonnet on Wild Rose Reader) and now I do. Thank you, Elaine!

Elaine Magliaro said...


When I first went looking for Mother's Day poems, I found a lot of greeting card poetry.

I have a favorite poem by Naomi Shihab Nye from her book RED SUITCASE that I would have loved to post too--but it isn't available on the Internet.

I found the sonnet by Rossetti in a book entitled MOTHER SONGS: POEMS FOR, BY, AND ABOUT MOTHERS.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.