When you were mine though not
mine at all permanently, just a body borrowed
without permission, a body interrupted,
the sky opened like a secret in a mouth
mouth with a word in it
word with an arrowhead in its flank: Love, small
creature it was
crying in the night beneath me
Sonnets are full of love, and this my tome Has many sonnets: so here now shall be One sonnet more, a love sonnet, from me To her whose heart is my heart’s quiet home, To my first Love, my Mother, on whose knee I learnt love-lore that is not troublesome; Whose service is my special dignity, And she my loadstar while I go and come And so because you love me, and because I love you, Mother, I have woven a wreath Of rhymes wherewith to crown your honored name: In you not fourscore years can dim the flame Of love, whose blessed glow transcends the laws Of time and change and mortal life and death.
This collection of books showcases the masterpieces of American poetry that have influenced—or promise to influence—generations of poets. Take a look.
Love set you going like a fat gold watch. The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry Took its place among the elements. Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue. In a drafty museum, your nakedness Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls. I'm no more your mother Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow Effacement at the wind's hand. All night your moth-breath Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen: A far sea moves in my ear. One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral In my Victorian nightgown. Your mouth opens clean as a cat's. The window square Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try Your handful of notes; The clear vowels rise like balloons.
The poets in this collection present poems about their mothers and discuss their mothers' responses to the poems written about them.