Study Guide

Morning Song Family

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Love set you going like a fat gold watch. (1)

What do families do? They love each other. (Okay, they do plenty of other things.) But it's important to note that, before anything else, our speaker recognizes a bond of love that brings her baby into the world. Sure, there may be complications, but it's love that gets first billing in this poem.

Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue. (4)

What do people do when they've had a new baby? They stand around and stare at it for a while. Notice, though, how the first thing that our speaker thinks of when she looks at the baby is a "new statue." It's not even "my new statue" or, say, "new baby." Something funny seems to be going on here. Sure, folks are worshipping the new babe ("magnifying" its presence), but the language our speaker uses to describe this isolates the baby, turning it into an inanimate thing.

I'm no more your mother
Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the wind's hand. (7-9)

Wow. Talk about a sucker punch. You come into the world, thinking everything is all warm and cozy, and then… BAM! It turns out that your mother doesn't really think of herself as your mother. Sucks to be you, huh?

One cry, and I stumble from bed, (13)

Now we're back on track. Mom may not be thrilled about the thought of a new baby changing her way of life, but at least she's prepared to do everything she can to make sure that her child is fed and happy. After all, that's what mothers do.

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