LOOKING AT MY CHILD
How strange it seems
that joy and sorrow merge!
Here I stand;
suspended in momentary bliss,
behold: my curious sunshine child.
a chilly breeze of premonition;
(begone, unwelcome Zephyr!)
inevitable: she will be hurt;
rites of passage I can’t prevent.
I hide the dread away,
beneath a heap of mothballed quilts
and turn again towards the now.
©Cindy Taylor 2009
CRIT FROM DE WAAL VENTER, MY POETRY TUTOR:
This is not a full crit, just my reaction as you requested. Short answer: no, it’s not too sentimental.
Longer answer: the poem deals with the well-worn theme of a mother who is worried about how life is going to treat her daughter. Well-worn it may be, but that doesn’t take away one iota of its relevance.
The poem has a freshness and simplicity that is attractive. The phrase “curious sunshine child” is not the most original in the world, but it works in this context.
I was stopped by the curious 19th century phrase “(begone, unwelcome Zephyr!)”. But then I thought it could be functional – it evokes a type of brooding Victorian emotionality that somehow helps to deepen N’s sorrow about her daughter’s future pain.
The phrase “beneath a heap of mothballed quilts” is quite original and vivid. This makes the poem. It paints the scene of N anxiously turning away from the possible terrors of the future and seeking solace in the everyday reality of “now”.
One small nit: “I shut the dread away,”
The word “shut” doesn’t feel quite right here. One doesn’t really “shut away” something beneath a quilt. Wouldn’t word like “hide” or “push” or something be a better choice?
A poem worth keeping 🙂