Monday, 16 July 2007

The Robed Heart

They come in white livery bringing the sun,
the Robed Heart astride her white mount,
crowds lining the royal road in anticipation.
Ahead, the castle flying the new colors,
a queen's great labors come to an end.
A shout, and the cord is cut,
the crown placed upon my head.

And I am, Mother, I am!

~Elizabeth Spires

I fell in love with this poem initially because of its wonderful, regal, almost Medieval imagery. A sort of a fairytale, but more a Phillippa Gregory novel. Gregory always describes these royal processions on horseback, often the high point in the heroine's life. Always a sense of triumph. So striking that it is with this that the experience of childbirth is compared. Is that what it feels like, once the painful bit's over? I wouldn't know: I've never had a baby.

It's interesting that it is in being a mother that the narrator sees herself as becoming a queen. I think the reality of motherhood is rather different! In fact, it is in being a mother than the narrator sees herself as existing at all, which I find rather depressing and horribly out-of-date, but there we go. And who is the "Mother" that she addresses? Her own mother, or a spiritual Mother-Earth fertility goddess type thing, or both?

Either way, it's a beautiful and intriguing poem. I wish I'd written it, especially since so many of my poems document the experience of living as a woman. It would go nicely in my Tall Lighthouse manuscript. Shame plagiarism is illegal. And dishonest and just plain wrong.

1 comment:

Angie said...

That is an intriguing poem. In all truth, in case you're interested, I've found motherhood to be a struggle between subtractions and additions, and it's hard to know where I'll come out in the end. Every day has its triumphs and failures, sometimes more of one than the other, but I barely resemble the person I was before children five years ago. It's hard to explain. I often miss that person.

My own mother loves Phillippa Gregory, whom I've never read. For me, there was more relief than triumph in each birth, but yes - it did feel like an accomplishment. :)