Mothers and Sons

My Mother Would Be a Falconress

by Robert Duncan

‘My Mother Would Be a Falconress’ by Robert Duncan explores a son and mother’s relationship through the lens of a falcon breaking free from his handler.

'My Mother Would Be a Falconress' is one of the best poems that explores the mother-son relationship. While it is clear that the son and mother love each other, their relationship is very rocky, as the son eventually tires of the mother's controlling and domineering nature. The son also regrets turning his anger against his mother and feels haunted by the events after her death.

My mother would be a falconress,

And I, her gay falcon treading her wrist,

would fly to bring back

from the blue of the sky to her, bleeding, a prize,

an afternoon nap

by Arthur Yap

‘an afternoon nap’ by Arthur Yap explores the lacunae in the modern education system and how it results in anxiety and stress in students.

This Arthur Yap poem explores the discord in a mother-son relationship.

the ambitious mother across the road

is at it again. proclaming her goodness

she beats the boy. shouting out his wrongs, with raps

she begins with his mediocre report-book grades.

Explore more poems about Mothers and Sons

A Stone is Nobody’s

by Russell Edson

‘A Stone is Nobody’s’ by Russell Edson is a memorable poem. It uses a stone, and a man’s capture of it, to describe a troubling mother/son relationship.

Baudelaire

by Delmore Schwartz

Delmore Schwartz’s ‘Baudelaire’ is an emotional depiction of a poet’s desperation caused by poverty and the vicious cycle of hopelessness.

Death of a Young Son by Drowning

by Margaret Atwood

‘Death of a Young Son by Drowning’ by Margaret Atwood is a beautiful and impactful poem about the death of Susanna Moodie’s young son. Atwood explores the grief of the mother and how her life changed. 

I’m a Fool to Love You

by Cornelius Eady

‘I’m a Fool to Love You’ by Cornelius Eady is a moving poem. It details the choices of a young black woman, the speaker’s mother, and why she did what she did.

Learning to Love America

by Shirley Geok-Lin Lim

‘Learning to Love America’ by Shirley Geok-Lin Lim is a thoughtful poem about identity. It explores the way the speaker, likely the poet herself, learned to love the country.

Love

by Kate Clanchy

In this striking and original poem called ‘Love’ the poet examines her feelings towards her newborn son. Here is an analysis of the poem.

Musician

by Gillian Clarke

‘Musician’ by Gillian Clarke is a poem about her son learning to play the piano, where the imagery around the home aids to describe the creativity of music.

My Brother at 3 AM

by Natalie Diaz

My Brother at 3 am by Natalie Diaz is written in a Malay verse form called pantoum. He believes that something, or someone, “wants to kill [him]. ”

On Her Blindness

by Adam Thorpe

‘On Her Blindness’ by Adam Thorpe is a loving poem dedicated to the poet’s mother. It explores how lost sight can impact one’s life and the frustration of not being understood.

Plague

by Jackie Kay

‘Plague’ by Jackie Kay is a poem about death, specifically about the plague in London and how a mother is forced to contend with the knowledge that both her sons are going to die.

The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver

by Edna St. Vincent Millay

‘The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver’ by Edna St. Vincent Millay depicts the lengths mothers will go to in order to protect their children. The speaker recalls watching his mother sacrifice herself for him when he was a young boy, weaving an enormous pile of clothing with a harp. 

The Shield of Achilles

by W.H. Auden

‘The Shield of Achilles’ by W.H. Auden presents an episode from Homer’s epic poem “Iliad” innovatively. This poem creates an amalgamation of the classical world with the modern world for depicting the futility of the latter.

The Underground Baby Case

by Jackie Kay

‘The Underground Baby Case’ by Jackie Kay conveys the feelings and choices of a woman who lost her own child and stole someone else’s.

Timer

by Tony Harrison

‘Timer’ by Tony Harrison describes the death of a speaker’s mother and the attempt to cremate her wedding ring along with her body.

Two Little Shadows

by Anonymous

‘Two Little Shadows’ is a poem by an unknown author about motherhood. It uses examples of figurative language to describe children.

XIV

by Derek Walcott

‘XIV’ appears in Derek Walcott’s collection of poems “Midsummer”. This poem features the glorious days of Walcott’s childhood, especially how they gathered around his mother to hear stories at the stroke of eve.

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