I have to confess. I look forward to Wednesdays on this blog, where I get to share some of my favourite poems written by other authors with you guys. Today’s poem is titled “in the park” by Gwen Harwood. It’s a powerful pessimistic poem about a woman who has sacrificed so much for her children, she has given up her life so that they can have theirs. And rather than the emotion of joy and pride in her children, the character in the poem, feels and weary and resentment which is manifested in the line where she says- “they have eaten me alive”.
In Nigeria, especially the northern part, many women stay in marriages which are sometimes volatile and abusive simply for the sake of their kids. They view they’d rather take on the torment than leave their kids in the hands of the abusive partner or raise their kids in a broken home. According to an analysis by U.K. Essays, “the dominant reading of the poem is that, for certain women, motherhood can be a burden. Sometimes when a woman’s life predominantly revolves around looking after her children, her sense of worth is devalued.” I’ld like to add, the above quote is not my opinion, but solely an analysis of the poem.
In The park by Gwen Harwood
She sits in the park. Her clothes are out of date.
Two children whine and bicker, tug her skirt.
A third draws aimless patterns in the dirt
Someone she loved once passed by – too late
to feign indifference to that casual nod.
“How nice” et cetera. “Time holds great surprises.”
From his neat head unquestionably rises
a small balloon…”but for the grace of God…”
They stand a while in flickering light, rehearsing
the children’s names and birthdays. “It’s so sweet
to hear their chatter, watch them grow and thrive, ”
she says to his departing smile. Then, nursing
the youngest child, sits staring at her feet.
To the wind she says, “They have eaten me alive.”