Saturday, November 25, 2023

Poetic Musings: Mother's Puffy Eyes Tanka

red gathering
in a mother's puffy eyes ...
her boy alone
in the shadowed corner
of the hospital hallway

Honorable Mention, Member's Choice Award, Ribbons, 19:3, Fall 2023

Chen-ou Liu

Commentary: My [Catherine Smith's] interpretation of this poem is that it speaks of the great scourge: domestic violence. Here we see a mother waiting for treatment, after suffering physical abuse. How many times has this happened? Will it safe for her to go back to her home? Does she has the courage to leave the situation and seek help at a refuge? Simple questions, complicated answers.

Then there is her boy in the shadowed corner. The poet has cleverly used these words as the boy is indeed relegated to the shadows. From the sidelines he witnesses the abuse and is helpless to do anything about it. He lives in a state of perpetual anxiety waiting for the next time. Pretends to his classmates that everything is okay. Lies if asked about his mother's bruises. Tries to quell the rise of internal anger which keeps rumbling in his soul. This poem highlights our deep concern for the wellbeing of everyone caught up in these terrible situations.

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