The judge for our Mother's Day Poetry Contest, Susan Porterfield, selected five poems that were broadcast during WNIJ's Morning Edition. However, among the 85 entries we received, Porterfield had a soft spot for one more, "Ode to Mother's Day," which we'll feature here.
Okay. I couldn’t resist this poem. But really, who could? All you have to do is read it to fall immediately for its charm.
First of all, its rhythm and rhyme — so regular and familiar — take us back to our own childhoods and childhood verse. We know instantly where we’re going in this poem, a condition that is comforting for us but challenging for the poet. To succeed, the writer must balance the homey air of comfort with an element of surprise in order to keep us interested.
Fortunately for us, this poet is good at juggling. For example, in the first stanza, after reading the first two lines, you think, “Oh no, this won’t do.” But then, you’re delighted by the unexpectedness of the last two lines of that stanza: “To when I was a floater/In the amniotic sac.” And right there, bam! The poem’s got ‘ya.
Do yourself a favor. Read it, and see for yourself!
The poem is by Margaret Hopkins of Brookfield, Ill. You can see the text below this video of her reading in the WNIJ studios:
Ode To Mother’s Day
Mother Dear, oh Mother Dear,
Oh how it takes me back,
To when I was a floater
In the amniotic sac.
And when you carried me inside
For all those many weeks,
Those tacos you kept eating
Caused me embryonic shrieks!
Also I was witness to
Each push and grind you had,
When you were making whoopee
With the guy that I call Dad.
So, Mom, I’d like to thank you
For not using
And thank you Mom for giving me
That nine month fetal ride.
Thanks to Margaret Hopkins and all the other poets who submitted entries for our first-ever Mother's Day Poetry Contest. A special thanks to Susan Porterfield for being our judge -- and a big thanks to you for listening to these poems during Morning Edition or reading them here.
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