On Sunday 26 March, we were thrilled to announce Zara Raab as winner of our Mother Poetry Contest, for her poem, My Daughter Drives. Please read Zara's poem here.
Today, we are delighted to welcome the work of Claire J. Baker to Woman-Stirred. Claire was one of the contest's finalists with her poem, A Protest Against the Passing of the Great Ship.
Claire tells us that the poem "was written in the course of my mother's failing health, her passing, the family wake and home-party celebration of her life (she would want us cheerful, not weeping)." A Protest Against the Passing of the Great Ship first appeared in Claire's self-published book, Dear Mother, a collection on the above theme.
A Protest Against the Passing of the Great Ship
The great ship is going down.
I admit barnacles, warped deck,
rusted hinges, tarnished brass,
plain wooden rails collapsing.
I would make my hands a half-mile long,
would push away the ocean's mouth;
with heart tugging, would tow her to port:
would rebuild and refurbish my mother ship;
have little-known dwarves and celebrated
statesmen patch the bow, have woodsmen from
the Black Forest firm the keel, replace the deck,
have children and poets polish the brass.
Eskimos would carve magnificent railings,
Persians lay rugs in every room.
The wine cellar would be stocked
by Benedictine Monks; Hummel figures
would arrive in gnarled fingers
of alpine peasants, Navajos would weave
baskets for hanging plants.
For ropes to the sky mast, boy scouts
would tie from dawn to moonlight.
None would tire, all would be kind.
When she had been made new again,
I would berth her on a tropical island,
anchor her so lightly she could pull
her own anchor, could circle the coral reef
for miles around, telling white beaches,
ferns, papayas, palm trees, trade winds
how it feels to be in paradise.
© Claire J. Baker
Claire J. Baker has been active in poetry as an editor, reader, organizer, and primary promoter of poetry landmarks in Northern California. She has nine self-published poetry books, the last one co-authored with Mary Rudge and titled Poems From Street Spirit: "homeless blues and social justice news". Claire has had over 2400 poems published and won over 400 awards. She is now a senior and lives north of Berkeley, CA. which is her birthplace.
More poems by Claire can be found at the Street Spirit website.
Mother Poetry Contest submission guidelines and prize details
Read more about the international history of Mother's Days
Julia Ward Howe's Mother's Day Proclamation 1870