Friday, January 20, 2012

Poetry Friday: A Mother to her Waking Infant



I found a poem today that was new to me, but the ideas and feelings in it are not new at all. I love finding evidence that some things don't change much. Joanna Baillie lived from 1762 to 1851, and she wrote these lines about her baby:

A Mother to Her Waking Infant
BY JOANNA BAILLIE

Now in thy dazzling half-oped eye,
Thy curled nose and lip awry,
Uphoisted arms and noddling head,
And little chin with crystal spread,
Poor helpless thing! what do I see,
That I should sing of thee?

From thy poor tongue no accents come,
Which can but rub thy toothless gum:
Small understanding boasts thy face,
Thy shapeless limbs nor step nor grace:
A few short words thy feats may tell,
And yet I love thee well.

You can read the rest of the poem here. I love the way Baillie describes her baby, who can't do much yet, and ignores his mother's poem, and laughs when everyone is sad, and yet is adored.

Here's today's Poetry Friday roundup.

2 comments:

Linda at teacherdance said...

It's very beautiful, & you are right, wonderful to find a poem of long ago that touches our hearts as mothers here in 2012. I love it all, but especially that beginning verse. The poet's voice is so sweet, yet firmly already knows her child. Thank you for the 'find'.

Author Amok said...

Hi, Ruth. This poem about parenting was featured at American Life in Poetry recently. Thought you might like it: http://lakeconews.com/content/view/22924/923/