In honor of Mother’s Day, poet Richard Blanco joined Boston Public Radio for another edition of The Village Voice — making sense of the world through poetry.

Through these poems, Blanco said he hopes to reveal “the complex emotional lives of mothers, who are first women and human beings.”

According to Blanco, Mother's Day should be about more than just rushing into a CVS to buy a Hallmark card — the day should be about thinking holistically about mothers.

"I think that's what all these poems have in common, they sort of reveal the multiple dimensions of, first of all, just being a human being, and then being a woman, and then being a mother — I think sometimes we can forget that," Blanco said. "That's what I love about all these poems, and every poem that you find (besides a Hallmark poem) about a mother."


Rita Dove

She wanted a little room for thinking:

but she saw diapers steaming

on the line,

A doll slumped behind the door.

So she lugged a chair behind

the garage to sit out the

children's naps

Sometimes there were things to watch--

the pinched armor of a vanished cricket,

a floating maple leaf.

Other days she stared until she

was assured when she closed

her eyes she'd only see her own

vivid blood.

She had an hour, at best,

before Liza appeared pouting from

the top of the stairs.

And just what was mother doing

out back with the field mice?

Why, building a palace.

Later that night when Thomas

rolled over and lurched into her,

She would open her eyes

and think of the place that was hers

for an hour--where she was nothing,

pure nothing, in the middle of the day

Venus in Miami Beach

Richard Blanco

What calls her to the sea? She rises, steps

toward the shore with the temperament

of a bride, her shadow a long train pulled

across the sand behind her, parting a flock

of seagulls screeching away into the wind.

Her swollen ankles and frail shoulders

disappear inch by inch under her body

as she wades into the water, becoming

as young as I remember her in a photo

posing like a mermaid for my father.

Once, as gorgeous as her name—Geysa

once a girl chasing fireflies who hadn’t lost

her home and country, sisters and husband,

once a mother who watched me as I watch

her now, afraid of her alone with the sea.

I wave to her, but she turns away from me,

fixes her eyes on the horizon and beyond

at nothing I can see, needing no one

it seems, like Venus’s gaze I’m tempted

to think, born full-grown out of the sea.

But today, she’s not a goddess or a girl,

not my mother, but simply a her, floating

in the circle of her own arms, a water lily,

tranquil and sure of her being, being.

Another Poem for Mothers

Erin Belieu

Mother, I’m trying

to write

a poem to you—

which is how most

poems to mothers must

begin—or, What I’ve wanted

to say, Mother...but we

as children of mothers,

even when mothers ourselves,

cannot bear our poems

to them. Poems to

mothers make us feel

little again. How to describe

that world that mothers spin

and consume and trap

and love us in, that spreads

for years and men and miles?

Those particular hands that could

smooth anything: butter on bread,

cool sheets or weather. It’s

the wonder of them, good or bad,

those mother-hands that pet

and shape and slap,

that sew you together

the pieces of a better house

or life in which you’ll try

to live. Mother,

I’ve done no better

than the others, but for now,

here is your clever failure.