On a little-known poem by a forgotten modernist
Lola Ridge (1873-1941) is not much-remembered now, much less read. Yet she was one of a number of female modernist poets active in the first half of the twentieth century: poets who helped to move English (or Anglophone: Ridge herself was not English) verse away from roses and iambic pentameters and into fresh new territory. Her short poem, ‘Mother’, gives a snapshot of her distinctive style.
Your love was like moonlight
turning harsh things to beauty,
so that little wry souls
reflecting each other obliquely
as in cracked mirrors . . . Read the rest of this entry
One of the best-known poems about mothers
‘My Mother’ is a famous poem, but its author is not so well-known. Ann Taylor (1782-1866) was not only a popular poet (who is best-remembered, in so far as she is remembered at all, for her verses for children) but also a literary critic of some repute. But it is for ‘My Mother’ that Taylor is now chiefly known.
Who sat and watched my infant head
When sleeping on my cradle bed,
And tears of sweet affection shed?
When pain and sickness made me cry,
Who gazed upon my heavy eye,
And wept for fear that I should die?
My Mother. Read the rest of this entry
The best poems about motherhood
Looking for a classic poem for Mother’s Day? Look no further. Whilst sentimental rhymes and rather sappy doggerel fills many a Mothering Sunday greetings card, these ten poems represent some of the best statements about mothers and motherhood ever written.
Ann Taylor, ‘My Mother’. Ann’s sister Jane Taylor (1783-1824) is best-remembered for having written the words to the children’s rhyme ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’, but this poem, written by Ann, is also well-known and has been much imitated and parodied. It takes the form of a question-and-answer back-and-forth where the answer is always ‘my mother’.
John Greenleaf Whittier, ‘Tribute to Mother’. In this short poem, the American poet John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-92) recalls the time when he was a small child and sat beside his mother’s knee. The poet’s mother restrained his ‘selfish moods’ and taught him a ‘chastening love’. Read the rest of this entry