Friday, May 8, 2015

Poetry Friday: Poems for Mother's Day

I am pleased to be included in the Mother's Day feature at the amazing online journal, Escape into Life.  I always love the way Kathleen Kirk, the poetry editor, combines poetry and art:  it's often unsettling and enriches both the poetry and the visual image.

My offering:  my poem, "Orpheus Visits the Fertility Clinic."  It begins this way:

"Orpheus considers the frozen
embryos of his dead wife.
Long ago, they preserved possibilities.
and now, he pays the price."

I had originally submitted it as a possibility for Valentine's Day, but Kathleen wanted to hold onto it for Mother's Day.  It's an odd inclusion, but it works.

I have also written a poem, "Cassandra Visits the Fertility Clinic."  I think the Orpheus idea came first, but I have a memory of one idea informing another as I wrote.

It's an interesting way to write poems, transporting figures from mythology into our modern lives.  Some day, perhaps an enterprising grad student will write a dissertation about which figures I've used most.

Right now, it's Cassandra, Penelope, Persephone, Orpheus, and the occasional Eurydice poem.  I wonder if my preferences will change as the years go on.  I'm not writing as many Persephone poems as I once did.  In the past five years or so, I've been returning to Cassandra more than any other figure.  It doesn't take a genius grad student to figure out why.

If I taught a poetry writing class, I'd challenge students to write a Mother's Day poem that avoided clichés, both the good and the bad.

I'd direct them to the Escape Into Life feature to see how others have responded to the challenge.

If I was teaching in a place that allowed me to bring spiritual discussions into the classroom, or if I was leading a retreat exercise or a church study group, I'd then ask the group to consider God as a Mother.  We talk a lot about God our Father. We talk a lot less about God as Mother.

We're missing out.  More thoughts on God as Mother as this Mother's Day week-end progresses.

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