I Am My Daughter’s Keeper

Daughters Keeper

Some of you know that I am also a poet. Often my two worlds intersect. More often, they collide. I worry sometimes that mothering is too limiting a topic for poetry, that it narrows my reach, marks me in some way inferior or as the dread, “woman writer.”  But over and over again I hear “write what you know” and truly, I don’t know what else I could write.

It is a conundrum that in the rare quiet moments away from my daughter, my work on attachment, and family responsibilities, I write about being her mom. For me, poetry usually comes unbidden, a thing demanding wings, words insistent and immediate. Here is one I’ve been asked to share.

 

I Am My Daughter’s Keeper

 

I am my daughter’s keeper

The repository of her fears

The arms that hold her against her will

When she struggles against demons so fierce

They cannot be contained

 

I am my daughter’s keeper

The territory of her refuge

The boundary of her rage

Before language could contain her thoughts

I was her thoughts

I was her shield

The soft giving place

For pounding fists

And kicking limbs

 

I am my daughter’s keeper

My patience numbed with repetitive chatter

Takes in one more question

One more idea fixe around which

She cannot journey

In sulky silence

She breaks my heart again

As I fail to understand

Some simple need

Some desire to communicate

A look

A tone of voice

What someone meant

How afraid she was in a fleeting moment

Of a day long past

 

I am my daughter’s keeper

I hold her memories

Locked inside boxes of my own

Spilling out on quiet nights

When, exhausted from the battles of the day

I wish I could be more

 

I am my daughter’s keeper

I hold what she struggles to forget

Steady her hand

As she aims higher

Than the world presumes

As she achieves her wholeness

In the wake of wars

Fought inside her mind

 

I am the keeper of my daughter’s flame

She battles in my daily heart

And flies away again

 

©4/7/14

Charlotte Simpson


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One comment

  1. Sheryl Riley · · Reply

    There is no greater gift than the love of your mother. What a beautiful picture of mother and daughter. God is guiding you through her journey in life and thank you for letting me be apart of that Journey. She brings me happiness, joy, laughter. The poem is beautiful and every word came from your heart.

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