Poem a Day 2015 #1 – You, Anne Bradstreet

Anne Bradstreet

As if writing a poem a day for April isn’t enough, I’ve also just started an online course called “Ten Premodern Poems by Women“. It looks excellent. The first poem on the course is by a 17th century poet called Anne Bradstreet, a highly educated English woman who migrated to Massachusetts in 1630 as part of the Puritan exodus. She was the first North American female published poet. The poem being studied is “The Author to Her Book“, and it is her contemplation of the publication of her first book of poetry in her native England. She sees her poems as ragged orphans, unfathered children sent off in the world to find their fortune, whatever that may be.

I don’t write many formal, rhymed poems, but my first for April is inspired by reading Anne Bradstreet today. It uses some of the phrases from her original poem, and an ABAB rhyme scheme, 10 syllables per line; and it kills two birds with one stone – a poem for today, and my assignment for the course.

You, Anne Bradstreet

And then you are despatched to distant lands

A woman young, refined of wit and words

Midst frost and famine, danger, heathens damned

A place where poetry might seem absurd


A woman need not think, but work and breed

Yet still some sort of joy and love wells up

Though fervent faith constrains your thought and deed

A man adored and children given love


When work is done, and God is given praise

Your pen is put to use, your thoughts can spill

These offspring now are words, each one well raised

No man required, their seed is in your quill


And so they find their way back to your home

Your poems reach where you can ne’er return

In case of malice from the critics’ stones

Your virtue and your piety affirmed


Your feeble minded offspring, weak, ill formed

You let them go, with dirty cheeks and rags

To roam the world, unfathered, unadorned

Your irksome visaged, gangling, rambling brats.



Copyright Mike Hopkins 2015

 

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11 thoughts on “Poem a Day 2015 #1 – You, Anne Bradstreet

  1. This is great Mike – maybe you should write formal rhymed verse more often! I always find straight rhyming couplets a bit twee & nursery-rhyme-like but a variation like this with some near-rhyme as well seems to put the tone and meaning above the rhyme. Good on you for doing NaPoWriMo again (I thought about it for about a minute before deciding that April just wasn’t for me.) Looking forward to see your daily efforts!

    • Thanks rob. Felt a bit clunky to me, and took longer than I can afford to spend each day in April. Thankfully I’m not working this week. The near rhymes are only because I couldn’t find a full rhyme, but I do prefer them as well. Hope your new knees are coming along.

  2. Hi Mike, I love this. It sounds accomplished and I personally prefer slant over straight rhymes. And thanks for the reminder re the poetry course. For some reason I didn’t receive an email reminder about it.

    I wasn’t going to sign up this year for NaPoWriMo but I couldn’t resist.

    Jen

  3. I’m outright impressed — and a lot envious — that you took on rhymed form the first day of NaPo. And very nicely done. (Not that I’m at all surprised.)

    I’m so glad you’re among the NaPo crew this year.

  4. Emily Dickinson, also from Massachusetts, wrote what is termed slant poetry – near rhyme (sic). Maybe you were channelling her? Top poem. Particularly good cadence, sounds wonderful read aloud.

  5. I really love your empathy for Anne Mike. I appreciate that you wanted to and did connect with her – across time and place. I particularly liked the last verse. Well done.
    Amaya

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