Motherhood & Words

Well, I started my full-time job yesterday—thank you for all your good wishes—and I think I’ll really like the job. My co-workers are lovely and interesting, and the work is important. But wow, I haven’t had a 40-hour week desk job for over ten years, and it’s an adjustment. By 3:30 I was missing my girls, wondering how their days had gone, desperate to fold them in my arms. By 9:30 I had to put down the final Hunger Games novel (just 20 pages from the end of the book) because I couldn’t keep my eyes open. But I’ll get used to it, no?

Today the office is closed, so I’m working from home (or rather the coffee shop), and I thought I’d take a break to post some wonderful poems by my friend and fellow writer, Marge Barrett. Marge has a new chapbook called My Memoir Dress, which is just out from Finishing Line Press. Marge is such a talented writer of both prose and poetry, and these poems in particular speak to me as a mother. Marge is able to capture the beauty in the moments in life that many of us overlook. Her poetry is full of lyricism and grace—it’s the kind of poetry that makes me want to stop and savor each word. Marge has given me permission to post two of her poems here, so without further ado:

Wild Flowers

Bloodroot blossoms when my daughter is born.

Along the rushing river banks, shoots push

through hard winter earth. Pulled by spring sun,

the blue-green lobed leaves open wide, breathe.

In a steamy old hospital room, the midwife listens,

counts loudly, heartbeat’s dropping, dropping.

I push, push, push my beautiful bloody baby out.

Hush. Dim the lights. Her eyes, huge blue, study us.

Bloodroot blossoms when my second daughter is born.

Basal leaves again uncurl in the woods

under the web of stick-branched trees.

In the birthing room of a new hospital,

the doctor counters, no stirrups, deep vein thrombosis;

don’t want her throwing a clot to the heart.

This baby comes fast, looks out, alert.

Bloodroot blossoms when my girls are born.

Pure white stars, golden orange centers.

© 2011 Marge Barrett, reprinted with permission of the poet


Leaving London’s Gatwick airport,

I tell them to spend the last change,

buy something sweet, maybe artsy,

why not touristy.

My son disappears,


with a calling card

designed by a machine:

his name, our address, and


He’s fascinated by tricks,

sleight of hand, coins, cards.

He saves money for supplies

at the magic and costume store.

This, after building go-carts,

balsa boats and airplanes,

yoyos (rocking the baby, around the world),

chemistry sets, rockets,

rags on the piano, drums and guitar,

the computer.

My freckled-faced, red-haired son

wands the card over my head,

draws it out of his sleeve,

once again taking me away.

© 2011 Marge Barrett, reprinted with permission of the poet

Thank you, Marge, for letting me share your wonderful words here. People, check out Marge’s writing. And have a wonderful weekend.

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I have been teaching creative writing for almost twenty years. Reading about other women’s lives and experiences has expanded my world. To be able to walk in someone else’s shoes, whether it’s for a moment or an hour or a few days, is an incredible gift, providing me with insight into the human experience. It takes courage to write your truths, especially if it doesn’t seem as though anyone cares, as though anyone is listening. Let me tell you: your stories matter, I’m listening, and I’m here to help you find the heart of those truths, to get them down on the page, to craft them, and to send them out into the world. Together, we will change the world, one story at a time.


  1. BLOOM - Parenting Kids With Disabilities on September 16, 2011 at 11:15 am

    Congratulations on your new job! It sounds fascinating and stimulating (Spanish will certainly get the brain neurons firing!)

    I am sorry i've been so out of touch. I really appreciated your comment on my Motherlode piece.

    Best wishes in your new adventure! xo

  2. kate hopper on September 16, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Thanks so much, Louise. My brain was spinning yesterday, though luckily I don't have to write in Spanish. That would be a disaster!

    I've been horribly out of town, as well. Heading over to your blog right now.


  3. Andrea on September 18, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    You get used to it, and you don't get used to it. It helps to enjoy what you do while you're there. I love that second poem. Sounds very familiar. Thanks for sharing them!

  4. on September 19, 2011 at 8:50 am

    Just saw "I Don't Know How She Does It" (not great, but enjoyable), and it has refreshed my memory on some of the working mom challenges. All the best on the new job. You'll be great….and, from experience, I think it will be good for your girls (less risk of overparenting if you aren't there all the time)! Ann

  5. Sarah on November 5, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    I love the second poem, too. Wonderful.