Poems & Motherhood

Writing about motherhood often feels like a futile exercise.  How on earth does one capture and organize the three dimensional whirlwind of active bodies, the deep emotional valleys, the adventures, the quiet, private moments?

I have always loved the economy of poetry — the freedom to omit context or narrative and zero in on one detail. A snapshot in words. It’s the biggest relief! No pressure to capture ALL of one-year-old Hugh… if I can just get this moment, I can keep coming back.

So, my hope is to post the occasional poem here… little free verse things, most likely, assembled for future reflection and reminiscing.

Here’s one to begin with, written about this time last year, when Hugh was a very fresh, weeks-old babe.

Bedtime Poem

Holding Hugh
in the dark, a little light
from the hall creeps in.
His small face uplifted
in the shadows, tiny lips
pursed, eyebrows raised
in deep newborn sleep.
The air conditioner hums
a monotone base note; I hum
an old folk song over it
and sway to the tune.

Lately, Vivienne keeps telling me,
“I feel safe with you, Mom.”
Hugh keeps telling me
with the fullness of his cheeks
and small, searching hands.

— Caroline McDonnell



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