Poetry- Praise Song for My Mother - Mindmap in GCSE English Literature
A GCSE Poem summary and analysis of Praise Song for My Mother by invites a reader to consider their own relationship with their mother. essays about the 2nd amendment why do you like rainy season essay venn diagram about The secret war of lisa simpson analysis essay, skrive et essay engelsk supervising dissertation students romulus my father essay relationships and and responsibility in bible praise song for my mother poem analysis essays. the five paragraph essay song How to write a 5 paragraph essay writing Praise song for my mother relationship analysis essays lojas sipolatti the grapes of wrath essay dogs vs cats essays brainstorm cloud diagram for essay fall of the.
She held teaching and reporting jobs in Guyana after finishing her university work, and she immigrated to the United Kingdom in In the case of this poem, it is probably safe to assume that the speaker is Grace Nichols, who is writing a praise song in honor of her mother.
The poem ends with only one line in the final stanza. When speaking of her mother, Nichols writes in the past tense, and one can assume that this is because her mother has passed away. For instance, in the first stanza, Nichols compares her mother to water, something that is essential for survival. Her mother was not just any water, however: Another interesting aspect of the poem is just how intimate and personal it is.
Just like the ocean, Nichols cannot help but be pulled toward her mother. Nichols diction continues to be perplexing in this stanza with her use of the word mantling, which is defined as a piece of cloth used to decorate various items, such as clothing and helmets.
The third stanza mirrors the first and second in terms of structure and style, but it is much more simplistic than the previous stanza. Just as the sun rises every morning, so could Nichols depend on her mother to always be there. And not only was her mother dependable, but she was also very loving and radiant. Our family was not one to shirk its duties, even if we did not always perform them warmly.
There were many ways my mother could have chosen to tell my father she was dying and there were many ways he could have chosen to respond. I said this not because I believed it but because it seemed like the kind of thing you should say. My mother felt grateful and vindicated. My father felt snubbed. Or, if he did, he refused to abide by it.
All about my mother: ‘It’s amazing what the living expect of the dying'
The code had to do with not just showing up but actually being there, which was no longer really a part of their social contract. All around us were family members of other patients, people who sobbed in the hallways or set up camp at bedsides or emerged from the elevators carrying piles of blankets and needlepoint pillows and framed photos from home.
He looked to be in his sixties. I assumed he was crying over his wife, though I had no idea. No one was crying like that for my mother. Our family had a significantly different style. Some of that time has now passed.
The oncologist had just delivered the news that the chemotherapy was working. She was so happy that day that she actually ventured outside the apartment on her own to buy a frappuccino and I remember thinking to myself how great it would be if she were hit by, say, the M7 express on Columbus Avenue and killed instantly and painlessly. I knew from the internet that chemotherapy for gallbladder cancer works when it works at all for about one cycle before the body develops immunity and the disease resumes the process of ravaging it.
She would never have a better day than this day. That night she drank half a vodka gimlet to celebrate and regretted it for the next several days.
She vomited from the chemo through the rest of the summer until she landed back in the hospital with severe intestinal and bowel trouble. I had just got engaged to my longtime boyfriend, which had made my mother very happy. I did this because I felt that if we were in a play this would surely be part of the stage directions.
If I just sat there with my arms crossed against my chest, as I was inclined to, the doctor would make a note in the file suggesting that I might not be capable of offering sufficient support to the patient. I retrieved her hand from under the blanket and squeezed it in my own.
She did not reciprocate. I think we were both relieved when I let go. The doctor said she would most likely make it through Christmas, so we should feel free to go ahead with any holiday plans.
For three nights in a row, my mother made me stay in her hospital room. The people who came to clean her up were terse and tired and spoke mostly in heavy Caribbean accents. A few times she lay there in her own shit before they could get there. I know this because I was in the sleeping chair on the other side of the room, listening to it all while pretending to be asleep. I tell myself I did it out of compassion but the truth is I also did it, as I had done so many other things where she was concerned, out of rage.
Later, when the horror of those nights had been eclipsed by other horrors — patient proxy forms, calls to an attorney, wrenching phone conversations with her friends — my mother was discharged from the hospital and my father and I took her back to her apartment in a taxi.
This day was no exception. Neither my brother nor I had ever shown an interest in reproducing. I had a dog, which she sometimes called her granddog. The three of us sat in silence through this advertisement and several others — for weight loss, for acne scar removal, for adjustable mattresses. It was a cold, gusty day and tree branches scraped the car while we waited at red lights. Back at the apartment, my father stood around awkwardly for a while, and finally left.
That is to say, I got married pretty much right then and there, less than six weeks after getting engaged, so she could be in attendance. We spent three weeks discussing the wedding and five days actually arranging for it, which in retrospect I think is the perfect amount of time to plan a wedding. During the time we were discussing it my mother became fixated on hosting the event in her apartment and inviting her friends and associates.
She also made it clear she did not want children in her apartment for fear of their knocking over her pottery or damaging her art. The discussion period ended when my mother realised she was too sick to orchestrate anything. This was one of our more authentic conversations because it so happened that I authentically wanted her there.
My father, as far as I could tell, regarded marriage as a fatuous institution. In moments, he seemed to regard my wedding plans as yet another complication that had been thrown into the mix of our crisis.
My mother was the only person on earth for whom my getting married really meant something. Photos taken by another close friend later suggested my mother was in an extraordinary amount of pain. Wearing a wig, being humiliatingly pushed along in a wheelchair by my brother with whom, a month later, at Thanksgiving, I would trade earsplitting obscenities as she lay in the next room after vomiting at the dinner tableshe is wincing in every shot.
After seeming relatively alert during the pre-show champagne at her apartment, compliments on the decorshe appeared to unravel throughout the ceremony, shifting from barely living to officially dying in the time it took me to slip from lack of official attachment into wedlock.
The next day, the four members of the hospice team came to the apartment to introduce themselves. When they asked her to describe her level of pain on a scale from one to 10 — one being no pain, 10 being unbearable — she told them eight. She said she had never in her life been able to answer that sort of question. I ducked away and pretended not to see but I appreciated the gesture nonetheless. I told her that as presumptuous as it might be to believe in an afterlife it was equally presumptuous to deny the possibility of one.
Then, at the risk of mockery or at least disapproval, I said that I felt like reincarnation was at least something worth thinking about, that it felt clear to me that souls existed and that you could just tell from knowing people that some souls had been around longer than others. Plus, dogs obviously had souls, so there you had it.
Her voice sounded genuinely worried.
GCSE Poem analysis: Praise Song for My Mother by Grace Nichols
We expect wisdom, insight, bursts of clarity that are then reported back to the undying in the urgent staccato of a telegram: I have the answer. Everyone who died before. And they look great. We expect them to reminisce over photos, to accept apologies and to make them, to be sad, to be angry, to be grateful. We expect them to clear our consciences, to confirm our fantasies. We expect them to get excited about the idea of being a bird.
This was the day her confusion morphed into unremitting delirium, the day the present tense fell away and her world became a collage of memory and imagination, a surrealist canvas through which reality seeped in only briefly at the corners.
Suddenly she seemed no longer in pain. She wanted her purse, she told me. She needed to put some things in it.
I recognised this impulse from my death books. When I leaned over the bed to wipe up the vomit, she put the end of the cane on my head and began rubbing my hair.
The gesture struck me as something an ape might do if you were sitting across from it trying to make it play nicely with blocks, a helpless molestation, a reaching out from behind the bars of a cage.
When I managed to grab the cane she resisted for a moment before letting it go. Her voice over the last few weeks had grown faint, her speech slurred and monotone. It was the sound of fog rolling in over a life.
It drove her crazy. She was always shushing me. A cat visited my mother regularly in her final weeks, at one point jumping on her bed and lying at the foot of it like every cat we had when I was growing up.
Niffy One and Niffy Two, both of which were friendly and affectionate. My mother softened in senility. Her head seemed perennially cocked to one side, her eyes wide, and with her hair now growing back in soft white tufts she looked like a perfect white frosted truffle. For the first time in years, she was without affectation. There was no trace of the drama queen. As feathery and ephemeral as she was, she seemed like a real person rather than someone impersonating her idea of a person. Though I never would have said it, she looked almost exactly like her mother, who, despite her fleshiness and thick glasses and suspected intellectual disability, everyone, even my mother herself, had recognised as being very pretty.
I actually liked her.