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A Mother's Love, Steels Her To Infinite Faith And Sacrifice

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Note- (1.)

A Short Analysis of John Greenleaf Whittier’s ‘Tribute to Mother’
A delightful little paean to the poet’s mother

‘Tribute to Mother’ is a short poem in which the American Quaker poet John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-92) recalls the time when he was a small child and sat beside his mother’s knee. The poet’s mother restrained his ‘selfish moods’ and taught him a ‘chastening love’:

Tribute to Mother

A picture memory brings to me;
I look across the years and see
Myself beside my mother’s knee.
I feel her gentle hand restrain
My selfish moods, and know again
A child’s blind sense of wrong and pain.
But wiser now, a man gray grown,
My childhood’s needs are better known.
My mother’s chastening love I own.

In three sets of rhyming triplets, John Greenleaf Whittier looks back on his mother from the vantage point of his own old age (‘a man gray grown’). His mother was gentle but firm, inspiring in him a sense of right and wrong, and knowing what’s best for her son (‘My childhood’s needs’). The love a mother has for her child is ‘chastening’ not just because it is designed to chasten or subdue the child’s wilder or more unacceptable impulses, instilling a strong moral sense into the child, but also because Whittier, now older and wilder, feels chastened by the love and patience his mother had for her son.

John Greenleaf Whittier is a curious figure: associated with the group of American writers known as the Fireside Poets, who hailed from New England (Whittier himself was from Massachusetts) and wrote moral poems on domestic themes, he was inspired by the great Bard of Ayrshire, Robert Burns. (They were called the Fireside Poets because their work was often read aloud by families gathered around the fire at home; Longfellow, one of their number, even published a poetry volume titled The Seaside and the Fireside in 1850.)

Whittier’s ‘Tribute to Mother’ embodies these two aspects of Whittier’s work, and that of the Fireside Poets more widely: the domestic and the moral. His Quaker upbringing – and the values instilled in him from a young age by his mother – probably also had a hand in making him the poet he became. So it is fitting that he penned this short tribute to his mother, acknowledging the part she played in the poet – and man – he grew up to be.

Note (2.)

A Short Analysis of Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘To My Mother’
A charming sonnet by Poe about mothers

Edgar Allan Poe’s mother died in 1811, when Poe was only two years old. His father had walked out the year before, so Poe became an orphan with his mother’s death. He was taken in by John and Frances Allan of Richmond, Virginia, and would live with them until he had reached adulthood, although the Allans never formally adopted him. His middle name (really a second surname) was derived from his ‘adopted’ parents. He was probably named Edgar, by the way, after Edgar in King Lear: his (biological) parents were both actors, who were starring in a production of Shakespeare’s play when their son was born. Poe wrote ‘To My Mother’ in 18

To My Mother

Because I feel that, in the Heavens above,
The angels, whispering to one another,
Can find, among their burning terms of love,
None so devotional as that of ‘Mother,’
Therefore by that dear name I long have called you –
You who are more than mother unto me,
And fill my heart of hearts, where Death installed you
In setting my Virginia’s spirit free.
My mother – my own mother, who died early,
Was but the mother of myself; but you
Are mother to the one I loved so dearly,
And thus are dearer than the mother I knew
By that infinity with which my wife
Was dearer to my soul than its soul-life.

With a title like ‘To My Mother’, surely we can confidently identify the subject of Poe’s poem. But in fact the poem was not written about Poe’s biological mother who died when he was still an infant. Nor, though, was it written about his adopted mother, Mrs Allan. Instead, the subject of ‘To My Mother’ is in fact Poe’s mother-in-law, Maria Clemm – the mother of Poe’s wife (and cousin), Virginia Clemm, whom he married in 1836. Virginia died in 1847, two years before Poe wrote this touching tribute to both Virginia and her mother.

Not only this, but Poe is somewhat dismissive of his biological mother – whom, having died when he was so young, he can hardly be expected to remember – but he combines such dismissiveness with a touch of modesty and self-effacement:

My mother – my own mother, who died early,
Was but the mother of myself; but you
Are mother to the one I loved so dearly

In other words, ‘I value the woman who brought little me into the world far less than I value you, mother-in-law, because you have acted like a mother to me and you gave birth to the wonderful woman who became my wife.’ Viewed this way, ‘To My Mother’ becomes a more intriguing poem negotiating a complex nexus of family relationships in Poe’s life: a poem called ‘To My Mother’ which is not about his own mother (either of them), and in fact mentions his biological mother only to highlight how much closer he is to someone else; and a poem which (contrary to all those old jokes throughout history about the wife’s mother) actually praises the mother-in-law, and becomes as much a poem about the love for a wife (an uxorious poem, if you like) as it is a poem about a mother.

‘To My Mother’ was published in July 1849, only months before Poe’s untimely death, aged just 40. The poem is a Shakespearean sonnet, rhymed ababcdcdefefgg, and shows that Poe retained his literary skills right up until shortly before he died, not long after he was found delirious and wearing somebody else’s clothes on the streets of Baltimore.

************** A Mother's Love, Steels Her To Infinite Faith And Sacrifice She cooked breakfast, got her kids off to school took a brief rest on her favorite stool, watched through front window as life flew on by always and always, asking herself why, dreams came but were rarely ever fulfilled even hot summer days, her soul was chilled. She prepared lunch, so delicious for two even tho' where he was she had no clue, out that window she saw sun beaming bright he had gone so far away, out of sight, dreams came, but his needed return did not still a prayer said for what she has got. She cooked another meal, kids must be fed her heart crying, is he alive or dead, not knowing, was a deep pain of its own hurts eating deeper in her aching bones, dreams they came, washing dark with lonesome night she felt the weariness of her sad plight. She saw the bus stop, her kids piling out her daughter beautiful, her son so stout, racing home, they both laughing all the way she thanking God for yet another day, her dreams came, her spirit asked yet again why did he leave them, please God do explain. Days chores done, all over her body ached pray she with her deep faith, none of it faked a quick shower then off to get some rest in bed wondering, have I done my best her dreams sang softly, this shall one day end then your blessings, divine mercy will send. Robert J. Lindley, Rhyme, ( In Tribute ) ( A Mother's Sacrifice, Her Love, Brave And So True ) Syllables Per Line: 0 10 10 10 10 10 10 0 10 10 10 10 10 10 0 10 10 10 10 10 10 0 10 10 10 10 10 10 0 10 10 10 10 10 10 Total # Syllables:300 Total # Words::::244 *******************

Copyright © | Year Posted 2020

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Date: 8/13/2020 3:32:00 PM
I think every mother has had such a moment, "even tho' where he was she had no clue," Relief at last, "She saw the bus stop, her kids piling out her daughter beautiful, her son so stout," I have never had kids, but I remember my own mother's anxiety when one of us was late or missing. Well penned Robert.
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Date: 8/7/2020 1:55:00 PM
mr lindley, what else can one say....a mothers Love is the best place for a child to stay....obedience taught when discipline is sought....and favorite meals are always caught....with the Strength Of Love at its highest peak....which is why i see such Bliss is these words you speak....very inspiring write mr lindley....
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Date: 8/6/2020 12:31:00 PM
Being a mother is a privilege and an honor - I could not imagine my life without my wonderful son - but I came from a loving mother and father who paved the way forward for me. You pay tribute to yours in so many beautiful well crafted and talented verses - I applaud you Sir Robert Lindley, famous poet of this century, Blessings and hugs my friend, Jennifer.
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Date: 8/2/2020 8:15:00 PM
Well done , Robert, My children have always been part of my soul and as a mother it should be.
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Date: 8/1/2020 8:39:00 PM
Dear Robert, Wonderful tribute as well as many lessons on poetry and great yourself. Thank you for bringing this to my attention: Sincerely , Elaine
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Date: 7/31/2020 4:00:00 AM
I have many good memories of my childhood with my mother. My parents taught me how to be a good parent my self. My mother taught me the lesson of forgiveness and the value of networking. I have thanked God for the blessing of being given good parents since my early teens. I liked your poem my friend.
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Date: 7/30/2020 8:11:00 AM
Hi Robert, a beautiful dedication write for mothers, who are always deserving of our deepest love. This is an outstanding write, as ever. Your words caress the soul and brng back so many memories of my own dear mother. The time and the effort you have ut into this piece are well worth while, Robert. Your golden pen is shining for those golden ladies. They are the corner stone of our existence. This wonderful write has to be a fav, my friend. Have a wonderful Thursday. YOUR FRIEND ALWAYS....Mike.
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Date: 7/29/2020 4:51:00 PM
She is a blessing and she gives unconditional love. Yes, she is amazing. Such a beautiful dedication to Mother's. I am holding moments with my mother so close to me. My father too. They are everything to me and my heart. Your thoughts caress gently around me. This is beautiful in so many ways. ~ Brandy
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Date: 7/29/2020 12:34:00 PM
Wonderful tribute you and wrote, and so thoughtful to show the tributes done by some classic poets we all admire.
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Date: 7/29/2020 12:18:00 PM
Outstanding verse, Robert. A wonderful tribute to our Mothers - see your soup mail - Bob H
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Date: 7/29/2020 10:29:00 AM
Congratulations Robert. This is a brilliant poem, that shows tributes to a variety of mothers. It was wonderful to feature so many poets and their tributes to their own mothers and mothers in law too! Wow! Nicely done, as usual my friend. It is a masterpiece.
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Date: 7/29/2020 9:40:00 AM
This is beautifully composed Robert, all mothers are shining stars. You've put a lot of time and effort into this piece Congratulations Tom
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Date: 7/29/2020 9:34:00 AM
Dearest Robert, A FAV in my book. I could envision the mother when young and all the kids home. They nourish our hearts and bodies, Blogs, I avoid, because I get stabbed in them by arrogant, cruel Poets here. And the sponsor of the blog supports it? I never will read that poet who said it was fine for me to be attacked. Meanwhile, he's a big shot here with a dagger for anyone who dares have a view opposite him. The poet-destroyer, I call this wretched soul. Panagiota xxx
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Date: 7/29/2020 8:16:00 AM
You put a lot of thought into this offering. Sorry for your loss Robert.
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Date: 7/29/2020 7:50:00 AM
The info was wonderful to read...I thought it was Poe at the ending but it was you...Well done...You are a living history...
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