Exactly What I Mean, Sir

I’m taking a poetry class which is, by and large, wonderful. Several students in the class regularly bring in poems that seriously impress me, and the teacher is so brilliant and cool it’s quite intimidating.

Yesterday evening I workshopped a poem that contained, among other things, speculation abouty my ability to kill a rabid raccoon with my bare hands, and also the following lines:

I thought of this as what Iā€™d gained
from motherhood: this ferocity, this volume,
this rage.

It was a decent poem, a fourth (or so) draft of something I’d been hammering at off and on for several months, and it finally had the shape I wanted. People made sounds when I read it, and said extra-nice things afterward, before we got into a helpful discussion of tweaks that could make it stronger.

A man started off the critiques: “I love this poem. I don’t think I’d change a thing, except there’s one word I don’t like: rage.”

I asked him how come.

“Well, rage.” He looked around the room as though expecting automatic agreement. “Maybe it’s because it comes so close to motherhood. It just doesn’t seem quite right.”

Two other moms were in the class that day, and we made eye contact, rolled our eyes a little, and laughed quietly. Motherhood and rage? He didn’t think of them as utterly compatible? Really? “I think it is exactly right, one of them said.”

Another man suggested, “maybe this mother rage?”

We three moms shook our heads. Nope. This rage.

It was kind of fun to blow their minds. The class wrote comments on my poem and passed them back to me. I read the disbelieving dude’s comment late last night: “I’ll never see you (or any mother?) the same again.”

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4 thoughts on “Exactly What I Mean, Sir

  1. !!! Very cool. One disbelieving dude at a time, I suppose. You’ll have to fess up to serious ambivalence in a future poem, just to really bring it home. And not qualify it.

  2. Ha! That’s hilarious that they were so shocked, but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. It took me a couple of years of motherhood to come to terms with it myself!

  3. Mothers are fierce. Rage goes along with that ferocity.

    About ramps/garlic scapes – how is it that you get them together?? I won’t have garlic scapes ’round here until July.

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