I wrote a poem specifically for and about my daughter exactly ten years ago (when she was 10) and I thought it was time to revisit that subject for a new poem. The collection of poetry I’m working on now focuses on life from a woman’s perspective, so I think these two as yet untitled poems will work well in that context.
The hardest thing about being a mom is wanting to protect your child and realizing that this is not always possible. In the first poem, I try to convey the innocence of childhood with the simple rhyme scheme and traditional “girly” images. I also tried to characterize our relationship, which was, and is, fun and playful with a deep spiritual affinity (my baby is a poet, and a brilliant one, in her own right). But in the first line I contend that the world is not quite as magical as she is and the underlying worry is that she will be hurt by that fact.
Oh, that the world were sugar and spice
With raindrops lightly falling…
There is a girl whose eyes are chocolate ice
Cream colored, and I am calling
To her to come inside my dreams,
To run atop my rainbow.
With a dance she comes, it seems.
She rounds her lips to blow
Upon the strands of cotton candy.
We watch the pinkness scatter
With the will of the wind and we
Laugh at and pray on the matter.
So 10 years later, the new poem has a similar whimsical quality because, as I think is true for us all, my daughter’s essence has remained unchanged. Although my fear is beginning to become a reality, her strength inspires me. I guess her parents did something right.
She refrains from liking grapes
As her favorite fruit
And moves on to mangos.
She casts aside the orange meat to
Gnaw the underside of the rubbery skin,
To expose the essence, to reveal what’s real,
Careful not to bite through
Because she cares; she cares
And knows she cannot stomach it.
Mangos remind her of Jamaican shores and
Shiny blue-black men whose stomachs
Glisten in the sunlight.
But oh, their hearts are hard as smallish apples.
She fancies herself ahelm a golden barge,
Regaled in jewels and clad in filmy cotton
That clings to her full womanhood,
Natural bulges boldly showing through:
A queen, a vision, an idea.
So why do men see only opportunity?
Still she walks in the light her spirit casts–
The glow obscured but not gone,
And just for now, just for today.
Tomorrow there is pomegranate,
Avocado, pear, and fig.
© Sweepy Jean and Sweepy Jean Explores the (Webby) World, 2009.
[Note (8/7/2011) : I’m sharing this post as part of Magnificent Monday “Cycle of Life” theme at Holes in My Soles. Pop in, join in or just follow the links to other great stories and pics.]