Before I get into the August topic, I wanted to give kudos to the city of Minneapolis for commemorating the collapse of the I-35W bridge five years ago with poetry.
Welcome to the August Poetry Project. This month's theme is Pulitzer Prize winners. There are some mighty fine poets on that lengthy list. But of course, I have to turn to one of my faves. Sylvia Plath is the only poet to win the Pulitzer posthumously, in 1982 for The Collected Poems. As I mentioned in my introductory post for this project, I especially love the poems she wrote to and about her children. Some are heartrendingly sad, particularly the ones written during her separation from her husband. Others are more awestruck at the enormity of having a child, such as this one:
Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry
Took its place among the elements.
Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue.
In a drafty museum, your nakedness
Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls.
I'm no more your mother
Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the wind's hand.
All night your moth-breath
Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen:
A far sea moves in my ear.
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 nowyou try
Your handful of notes;
The clear vowels rise like balloons.