Monday, April 10, 2017

Poems of the Week: Songs for Our Daughters

Recently, my friends, I happened upon wonderful poems written about their daughters by Margaret Bednar, whose blog is now titled Of Verse, Poesy and Odes - My Poetic Journey, De Jackson of Whimsygizmo's Blog, and Kelli Simpson, aka Mama Zen, of another damn poetry blog. Each poem took my breath away, and I thought they would work very well together to bring you a moving experience. For this one, you may want to have a tissue nearby, as these proud poets present their spectacular daughters.

I See Her

I'm one among many,
middle school auditorium
squeezed in tightly
with anticipation
lights dim, room hushes

voices ring out
try to harmonize center-stage -
the loudest note, off key
as young warblers part
for my daughter's solo.

The crowd fades as I
sit transfixed
as the soft light

her angled cheeks, full lips -
dances down her lithe form
fingertip to toe, arabesque -
silhouetting her figure,
more hour-glass than boxy

as she sings, soprano
of love flirtatious
exuding confidence

and then
she blends back in
harmonizing with the other children

and I see her as if for the first time
still beaming, but now
with a tear in my eye.

Sherry: Wow, Margaret, what a poised, accomplished and talented young woman! I am impressed. I can feel your maternal pride, and the wonder of one's child emerging as so talented and radiant a being. I resonate with the tear: the prayer that life will allow that wholeness and sparkle to endure. Thank you for this.

Margaret: This poem was originally written for my daughter who is now a freshman in college (studying drama). But I think it also applies to my youngest (five years later). She sang the Sondheim song "What More Do I Need" and this poem sort of went through me again.

As my daughters grow into young women, and as much as I admire and enjoy seeing them mature, a part of me will always see them as my sweet little girls, with wings on their backs, ballet skirts, hair adorned with flowers, and their hands reaching out for mine. Poetry is often capturing layers of a moment, an experience encapsulated in a few seconds....I have many of these etched within my heart, and this poem is one of a few that attempt to share my wonder and joy with them. 

Sherry: I can see those little girls with wings on their backs! And we mothers, aunts and grandmas resonate with remembering those beloved little ones, even as we encompass and take pride in their blossoming into young adults. 

De wrote a poem about her daughter who was also singing - rocking along with a recent hit that has a powerful message for girls. I have included the song, to underline the message of the poem. Let's listen, and be further inspired.

Listening to my 13-year-old daughter sing Alessia Cara
on an ordinary Thursday night

But there’s a hope that’s waiting for you in the dark
You should know you’re beautiful just the way you are
And you don’t have to change a thing, the world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we’re stars and we’re beautiful.

– Alessia Cara, Scars To Your Beautiful
She’s rocking
her algebra with her dad, and belting
out these lyrics at the top of her
gorgeous lungs and doing something
called point slope variation or somesuch
and I don’t even know what that is. And
she’s sassy and spicy and already puts up
with nobody’s nonsense, and she sings
these words of scars and beauty and truth
and I know she knows them, know she
feels them, but I also know the world will
knock her around a little, fight some of
this truth out of her. And I want to wrap
her back tight in that blanket she loved
and weave my fingers through her tiny
hands and sing her something simple,
some la la lu lullaby that might help her
sleep. Keep singing, Love, I want to say.
Even when the world tells you to stop,
even when it’s all too loud and you’re no
longer proud of everything you are. Even
when the voices in your head are the
loudest of all and they lie and cheat and
steal your heart. Even when you’re broken.
Even though you’re worn. Even when the
sky is falling but the stars are not. Even
when you’re caught between the hardest
places and you’ve lost all traces of the you
you know. Even when the world moves
too slow, too fast, too much past, too long
now. Even when you’ve forgotten how, sing.
Give those lungs the breath they crave, that
heart its uncaged beat, its feathered-hope
treatise with its own chambered skin. Raise
your eyes. See that moon, reflector of Light.
Smile. Trace your scars. Begin.

"Pure Joy"
De's beautiful daughter

Sherry: A spectacular poem, spectacular video and spectacular daughter. Triple header. I am pumped!

De: My girlie is a poem. So much joy and laughter and sass in one small package. Right now she is everything I wasn't, at her age: confident, joyful, in love with the world. I pray every day that she holds onto that fire. I'm so thankful for artists like Alessia Cara who remind our girls that they're beautiful, just the way they are. Fearfully and wonderfully made, and made to take the world by storm.
Sherry: I hope she holds onto that wholeness, too, De. And I suspect she will, because her mom loves and believes in her.

Mama Zen's poem about her daughter is perfect for closing this feature. Her writing is as strong and fearless as her love for her daughter. Let's take a look.

I Sing, Daughter

I sing, daughter,
of sacred spaces,
woman's places
of birth and breast
by any preacher's prayer.

Bring, daughter,
your shivers and night.
They're flesh givers, ripe
fruit for your lips
to curve your hips
and sweeten the shine of your hair.

I'll carry, daughter,
the pits in my palm,
proverb and psalm,
to where land meets the water
and offer them, daughter,
to the East, to the Earth, to the Air.

Let us sing, daughter,
of sacred spaces,
woman's places
of birth and breast,
and rest -
blessed by a woman's care.

Sherry: Wow. The fullness of this, and the mystique of womanhood, with its sacred spaces, fair takes my breath away in this poem.

Kelli: This poem is intensely personal to me. It's a response to the push / pull of mothering a teenage girl. Becoming a woman is a long, difficult process. So is bearing witness to the becoming. "I Sing, Daughter" is an offering, of sorts; a promise to my daughter  that there is beauty and power in womanhood. It is a celebration. It is a welcome.

Sherry: Yes, I feel all those things in your poem, feel your Mother Lion strength, protection, pride and joy. It makes my heart sing, for all girls entering womanhood who are fortunate enough to have strong protective mothers, who totally have their backs. 

Thank you, Kelli, Margaret and De, for gracing us with these affirming, proud and loving poems to your beautiful daughters. Each one moved me and made me happy for your daughters.

My friends, I hope you have enjoyed these fine offerings as much as we have. Do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!


  1. OoooooOOOOOOOO! All three knock my socks off! What a gift for your daughters--partly from SEEING them and partly from Having grown into women in a world that tries to own us and our strengths. When we grow and give and take freely, what power and beauty! Thank you for bringing these three poems and poets together, Sherry.

  2. This feature makes my heart swell with warmth and all good things. Thank you so much, Margaret, De and Kelli, for the beauty of your deep love for your wonderful daughters. I loved every moment of putting this together. Pure Woman-Power, mother to daughter. Magical.

  3. All of these poems were beautifully crafted tributes to some amazing daughters. May your bond always be strong and filled with love.

  4. Oh Wow--these were all wonderful--Thank you so much everyone--these just made my heart sing!

  5. Another wonderful feature Sherry! Enjoyed the loving words and sweet voices. Thank you ladies.

  6. Very wonderful poems from very wonderful poets! And what a wonderful idea of yours, Sherry, to combine them into this feature. I don't have daughters; I have sons – but I have been a mother's daughter, so I can still relate from that perspective and take a moment to appreciate my mother in appreciating these three.

    1. I love what you said Rosemary. I always wanted a daughter, but I was gifted a son. But I too, was a daughter and I would say my Mother felt that way, too.

  7. Thank you so much for this, Sherry! It's a real thrill to have my poem featured alongside such beautiful work. You're the best!

    1. She sure is! I have never been able to predict which poems she'll bring together, and I've always benefitted from the Light she throws on them. Thank you for your poem, Kelli.

  8. What a great feature, Sherry!! You have shared some wonderful poems by some super poets. And, poets, I really enjoyed your daughter poetry!

  9. It is so sweet to be surrounded by sugar and spice, all very talented and so endearing to the heart. Any mother will always be at ease and so proud to be so blessed. Great take Sherry,Marge,De and MZ!


  10. Be-YOU-ti-ful!! I applaud all of you

  11. Sherry, thank you so much for featuring me alongside all this gorgeousness. I am blown away by Mama Zen and Margaret's pieces, and thrilled to be featured here with them. You have such an eye for symmetry, sound and poems that sing.

  12. It was a special privilege to put this feature together, friends. Your poems are all so beautiful and they happened around the same time, so the idea was easy to come by. The video of the song Scars to Your Beautiful has such a wonderful message as well. It all just felt right.

  13. I love each one, Mother,Daugher and poems!!! So lucky! Such a privilege! Thank you Sherry. I know you have written about your daughters, perhaps you will share?

    1. Oh I never thought of that, Annell.....hmmmm....maybe I can think up something cool for mother's day...........thanks!

  14. Such warm emotions expressed in these poems..kudos to the wonderful poets and Sherry, quite wonderful that you found the common theme and strung them together.

  15. Each poem touched my heart in a most tender way. They brought me back to those days when I shared the emotions expressed in this poem, the love and wishes for a daughter. Now I have those wishes for my granddaughter and am so proud of a daughter who lives a full and loving life. I loved these poems. Thank you for highlighting them Sherry.

  16. Amazing women with amazing daughters... Each poem pulls at my heart. Thanks so much Sherry for putting this together. Each one of these poets inspire me and their daughters shine with hope.

  17. To be sought out by Sherry and to be featured with two other amazing women poets is humbling and thrilling!! Thank you.

  18. Kelli (Mama Zen) IS a phenomenal poet. I read this poem on her blog, but a second helping of Mama Zen is always good.


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