I'm no more your motherThan the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slowEffacement at the wind's hand. (7-9)
Once again, our speaker is playing some fancy tricks with words. Is she
saying that she's not the baby's mother? Or is she asserting that the
baby has a place in the natural order of things? You could even call
this a poetic version of "The Circle of Life." As the mother grows
older, new lions come into the world. Or, um, babies.
One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floralIn my Victorian nightgown. (13-14)
This is the only explicit self-portrait that we get from our speaker in
the entire poem, and it's not a pretty one. "Cow-heavy and floral"?
We're not exactly chomping at the bit to join her. Is this description
overly harsh? Or is it an honest assessment of her new place in life?
Either way, it's not all that inspiring. Which is pretty much our
And now you tryYour handful of notes; (16-17)
This is the first time in the poem that the baby's sounds have been described as conscious
linguistic productions, which is a huge shift. It suggests that our
speaker might have shifted her perspective, as well – the baby's not
just a creature in the world. It's a thinking being, and a creative one,
at that. After all, music is a creative act. Now that's a big step up
from a "bald cry."