Baby Steps

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TrevorConway
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Baby Steps

Post by TrevorConway » Tue May 12, 2020 8:34 am

This creature
is coming to terms with the new physics
of her bony machinery,
moving
along
by careful
degrees.
She stands with hands pressed to a drawer,
reads the room like a text,
grading gaps and prospects.
A leg trembles.
She looks to her mother.
I fear
that walking
is imminent.

As she probes possibilities,
I’m learning the laws of limitation:
neck-knotted, leg-heavied, arm-wearied.
Days begin with a kind of mourning
from muscles that need more rest.
I had her energy
not long ago,
but she’s subtly usurping me –
power expelled
in lifting, chasing,
even watching.

Evenings leave me lying on a couch
with moody muscles
and veins choked with sluggish blood,
but when I watch her study the world,
engaging with its innards
and the science of dirty corners,
I tend to forget
this thing called pain.


Hi all. Do ye think the combination of my daughter's mobility with my perspective/experience/limitation works, or should this be a poem solely about my daughter? Previous title was "Upward, Mobile". Do ye prefer that or "Baby Steps"? Or something better beeded? Thanks very much. T

NotQuiteSure
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Re: Baby Steps

Post by NotQuiteSure » Tue May 12, 2020 3:25 pm

.
Hi T,
there's not enough about N's condition to make the comparison between the two work (but I like the idea). The 'pain' in the final sentence seems without much in the way of explanation. It's too easy to misread N's state for simply being exhausted by parenting rather than something more 'medically significant'.

I don't find the opening convincing (too descriptive, not especially evocative), she can't walk but can read the room like a text? And shouldn't it be 'mechanics' rather than 'physics'? Why isn't her 'grading of gaps' (instinctively) contrasted with whatever N does (presumably learned) when confronted with similar obstacles ?

Be nice if there was a similar (thought opposite) phrase to 'learning the laws of limitation' to describe what she's doing (much as I like 'science of dirty corners', that's not it).


She looks to her mother.
I fear that walking
is imminent.

Days begin with a kind of mourning
I’m learning the laws of limitation:
from muscles that need more rest.

- I like this, but it gets lost amongst all 'neck-knotted' etc.

grading gaps and prospects.
A leg trembles.


but when I see her study the world,
engage with its innards
and the science of dirty corners,

- 'the science of dirty corners' is excellent.
I tend to forget / it's easy to forget
...? ...




I had her energy not long ago,
- begs the question, why don't you have her 'energy' now.
but she’s subtly usurping me –
- 'usurping' how? More a case of remorselessly overtaking, perhaps?
power expelled
- 'expelled' seems ill-chosen (not really in keeping with science/physics).
in lifting, chasing,
even watching.

Not sure about either of your titles for the piece as it stands.


Regards, Not



.

TrevorConway
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Re: Baby Steps

Post by TrevorConway » Wed May 13, 2020 4:08 pm

Hi Not,

As ever, thanks very much for the generous feedback. Yes, I could make the pains more specific, for sure; I suppose I just figured it made sense that those who have kids are typically of an age where they start to feel some hints of getting older, but that's too vague.

Thanks very much,

T

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lotus
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Re: Baby Steps

Post by lotus » Wed May 13, 2020 4:46 pm

Trevor

for me regarding age
the child
is not necessarily a youngster

so many things occur in life
and we may find ourselves unexpectedly in such a similar situation at any age

i like that the poem allows me to interpret it
with that wide horizon of possibilities

a warm smile
silent lotus
“A poem should have the touch ... the way sunlight falls on Braille.” .......silent lotus

TrevorConway
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Re: Baby Steps

Post by TrevorConway » Thu May 14, 2020 11:52 am

Hi Lotus,

Thanks for dropping by and giving your fresh take on it. Great to hear it.

Cheers,

T

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Re: Baby Steps

Post by capricorn » Fri May 15, 2020 4:47 pm

Hi Trevor,

I like this but find some of your lines rather short (might be my own preference)

I like 'the science of dirty corners'

perhaps end for more emphasis

I tend to forget this thing
called pain.

Eira

I wrote a longer answer but lost it !!! :roll: -now I have to cook dinner.

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Jackie
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Re: Baby Steps

Post by Jackie » Sat May 16, 2020 5:58 pm

Hi Trevor

As I understand it, N at first feels resentful that this child is verging on walking when N no longer can/now cannot, but later finds enlightenment or release in this…what? Spiritual connection? As you say, you could write only about the child, but this too is a very engaging topic.

To me, the problem is making the poem light enough to give a sense of the child's role in it. I find it a bit too ponderous as it stands.

Enjoyed
Jackie

TrevorConway
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Re: Baby Steps

Post by TrevorConway » Sat May 16, 2020 8:50 pm

Hi Eira,

Thanks a lot for the feedback. Pity your original comment was lost. Very annoying! But I hope the dinner made up for it :D

T

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Re: Baby Steps

Post by TrevorConway » Sat May 16, 2020 8:59 pm

Hi Jackie,

Thanks for your feedback on this. I didn't mean to imply resentment in verse 1, more bracing himself for taking care of a child who is about to become mobile. And I didn't mean to suggest the narrator can't walk, just suffering pains and tired (most likely connected with caring to the child, lifting her, as well as extra tasks in general, sleepless night, etc.). And regarding the ending, I wanted to convey that he isn't so aware of the pains/negative aspects when he sees how curious/great the child is, as he's so smitten with her. With those points in mind, do you think my description was way off the mark?

Re your comment about light and ponderous, you'd suggest lightening the tone, as it's currently too melodramatic/heavy, yes?

Thanks again, Jackie.

All the best,

T

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