Saturday, 18 July 2009

FEEDING BABY POEMS



In the tradition of mother-writers making poems about baby feeding - writers like Eavan Boland and Sylvia Plath - I've written a poem about feeding my new baby. I don't usually put my stuff up here but what the hey, it's small and simple.

Here are extracts from Eavan's 'Night Feed' and Sylvia's 'Morning Song' first - such beautiful poems:

From 'Night Feed':

"I crook the bottle.
How you suckle!
This is the best I can be,
Housewife
To this nursery
Where you hold on,
Dear life.

A silt of milk.
The last suck
And now your eyes are open,
Birth-coloured and offended.
Earth wakes.
You go back to sleep.
The feed is ended."

From 'Morning Song':

"One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral
In my Victorian nightgown.
Your mouth opens clean as a cat's. The window square

Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try
Your handful of notes;
The clear vowels rise like balloons."

And here's my poem:

Nightfeed

I elbow-cradle her plump
she grunts and guzzles,
unsuckles, then surveys me
with one squint eye.

A pearl of milk slips
from nipple to lips
into the oyster of her ear;
she smiles and re-nuzzles.

16 comments:

Liz said...

Lovely poem, Nuala...love the unsuckling and then re-nuzzling...and the drop of milk in the ear...captures lots in so few lines.

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

Thanks Liz :)

the watercats said...

Beautiful little poem, there's nothing quite as inspiring as a child when feeding, those silent moments... :-)

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

Hey Watercats - it's a beautiful thing alright, the sweetest bond.

Rachel Fenton said...

I love the suggestion that she gets a belly load before checking it's her mam!

And 'slips' above 'lips' really gives a strong sense of the wetness of the milk - and the act of feeding.

The 'pearl' and 'oyster' capture the way mother and child fit together, and a twist on the idea that baby is born of mother, but rather that mother is created from presence of baby.

Also just the sheer edibleness of their wee ears - much the best parts to nibble - my son (and daughter when she was dinksom) has velveteen tabs for earlobes - his personalised silky label, only his doesn't have instructions for care printed on.

I could go on and on, but I'm inspired to write one of my own now!

Simple truth - honest and touching as a child!

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

@Rachel - "I love the suggestion that she gets a belly load before checking it's her mam!"
Yes, in fairness she is still at the stage where she nuzzles into her Dad, cushions, any available softish thing looking for milk!
Thanks for your lovely comments, R. N x

Totalfeckineejit said...

Three great poems,WRW,and I can't help but feel the cold beauty of the second snuggled between the beautiful warmth of the other two.Good to have some of your poetry on your blog :)

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

Thanks TFE. I know you are a Ted fan. Do you like Sylvia's work too?

Niamh B said...

That is a lovely poem, a gorgeous moment captured. Glad you shared it

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

Cheers Niamh.

Totalfeckineejit said...

Sylvia is good , but not as good as you and Liz ;) Just discovered you are in Revival too- deadly.i likes to be seen in the best of company.That Paul Durcan poem is totally rapid too.Got your copy yet?

BarbaraS said...

I love the drop of milk in her 'oyster' of an ear. Aw!

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

Hey TFE - it arrived this morn. If I can pry the baby off me, I'll have a read and report back.

B - thanks. Are you at the TGC?! Lucky lady.

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

p.s. TFE - you old flatterer!!!

aileen said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Susan

http://toddlergirls.net

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

Hi Susan, thanks for reading and welcome along. I had a look at your blog - do you sell toddler clothes, or are you recommending them?
Nuala