Praise Song for My Mother

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  • Praise Song for My Mother
    • Content: Narrator remembers childhood, mother meant the world to her.
    • Form: Free verse but song-like with repeated refrain.
    • Structure: No punctuation suggests one warm memory.
    • Language: About her mother, love, food. Things you remember about childhood. Elegiac language.
    • Themes: Parental love (Harmonium, Nettles), natural imagery (Ghazal, the Farmer's Bride.
    • The first three stanzas end with a line that lists - with repeated "and"s - three qualities of the mother. The third stanza uses a metaphor to compare the mother to sunrise and ends "rise and warm and streaming". Here the writer's purposeful use of simplistic syntax (order of words and sentences) and grammar reflects the perspective of childhood, and perhaps also hints at dialect from her earlier years.
    • The first four stanzas all end with a verb ("fathoming", "mantling", "streaming" and "replenishing"), indicating that the speaker sees the mother as active. She is described as always doing things.
    • "Futures", plural on final line, suggests her mothers parenting has been about creating possibilities, not deciding her future for her daughter.
    • Poem stresses the importance of staying in tune with nature and natural rhythms. Water, moon and the sun are all natural elements that create a timeless quality to the relationship.
    • Comparisons: Sonnet 43 offers a similar listing or cataloguing of another person's qualities. In this case it is a parent, however, rather than a loved one. Both give a sense of the emotional nourishment provided by the person being described.
      • Nettles - parent and child relationship (however an adult perspective), negative perception for future in Nettles, positive perception in P.S.F.M.M.
    • 4th stanza is the longest because the others are describing her qualities but the 4th stanza is explaining what her mum was to her.
    • "Go to your wide futures, you said" comma could connote the end is near. Her love lives on.
    • "Sunrise to me" rise of the sun is timeless, eternal occurrence.
    • Elegy - poem written for a dead person.


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