Poems about Mothers and Sons

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 Ballad of the Harp-Weaver by Edna St. Vincent Millay Visual Representation

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.

Baudelaire by Delmore Schwartz Visual Representation

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. 

Death of a Young Son by Drowing by Margaret Atwood Visual Representation

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.

A Stone is Nobody’s by Russell Edson Visual Representation

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.

i am a fool to love you by cornelius eady

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.

XIV by Derek Walcott Visual Representation

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.

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.

Timer by Tony Harrison Visual Representation

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]. ”

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.

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.

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.

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