Poems about Motherhood

The miracle of poems about motherhood is that they were written at all, given the time pressures of parenting! Poems that are so personal can also slip easily into sentimentality. Ideally these poems show us the unique details of the mother/child relationship, but also present more universal truths. Here are excerpts from a few of my favorites:

From Roberta Hill Whiteman’s “For Heather, Entering Kindergarten:”

“When the bell rings, each chart clings

to another from the day before.

Too willing to be wrong, she knows our clock

doesn’t tock the same as theirs, and I’m afraid

she’ll learn the true length of forlorn,

the quotient of the quick

who claim that snowflakes never speak,

that myths are simply lies.”

From Jorie Graham’s “The Dream of the Unified Field:”

” …Child,

what should I know

to save you that I do not know, hands on this windowpane?–”

From Rita Dove’s “Weathering Out:”

“She liked mornings the best – Thomas gone

to look for work, her coffee flushed with milk,

outside autumn leaves blowsy and dripping.

Past the seventh month she couldn’t see her feet

so she floated from room to room, houseshoes flapping,

navigating corners in wonder. When she leaned

against a door jamb to yawn, she disappeared entirely. “

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