Thursday, April 12, 2012

“B” by Sarah kay


Reflection: “B” is a beautiful poem that salutes the invisibility of a mother to a daughter’s life. How befitting that this piece is being reviewed on a good Friday, April 6th, 2012 – the day the whole Christianism especially in the Philippines is reflecting on the passion of Jesus  Christ and the agony of the Virgin Mother while witnessing her only son being tortured to death yet she refused to abandon Him when everyone else did.

“B” mirrors the Virgin Mother’s predicament as well, just not as heavy as the agony she experienced, but it is a mother’s positive anticipation to supporting her daughter while dealing with life’s conditions. The speaker wants to follow her mother’s footsteps in raising her own daughter. She is looking forward to being a mother who will give an assurance to a daughter that there will always be a mother to fall back on when life gets rough.

The Tone and the Form
“B” is a poem that can be considered sassy but sincere. Two opposite words that suitably describes the tone of the poem. Sassy is a word that one can associate to a vibrant girl. Incidentally, the poet is a 22-year-old young woman, hence, the use of a playful expression such as: “You will put the win(d)some, lone some”, “put the star in starting over and over”, “on a scale to one to over-trusting” and some words that can be normally associated to a young woman such as: “Band-aids”, “chocolate”, and “boats” to mention some.

The other tone, sincere, reflects the poet’s deep gratitude and respect to a mother who raised her well. The pet even quoted her mother’s advice that says: “There’ll be days like this, my mama said.”

On the other note, “B” has an open form or a free verse as to poet wants to convey her thoughts narratively. Any other form would only limit the thoughts and the message of the poem.

The Words and the Symbol
“B”, literally is the second letter of the alphabet which is singularly meaningless, however, as a title of this particular poem, “B” could create an extensive symbolic meaning. Some of these could be: beginning, bestfriend, buddy, bosom, and bond. From among these possible meaning, “beginning “ is symbolically more appropriate in connection to the poem. Remember that the poem is basically about a woman’s or shall I say, a mother’s expectation to having a daughter. A mother is the beginning of a daughter’s life and everyone in general, always goes back to their beginning: the mother.

Whatever the daughter goes through as she deals with life, which momentarily keeps her away from her mother – the love or heartache, ambition, happiness or sadness, success or frustration, triumph or defeat- she will always has a mother to return home to.

The Language
“B” is rich in idioms and figurative language that add beauty and substance to the poem. Some examples of the idioms are:

“ I know that at the back of my hand.”
“Don’t keep your nose up in the air.”

The first one means being familiar with, while the second one means being boastful. Almost every line, in fact, is a connotation. Personification and metaphor are the elements of figurative language that are commonly used in the poem. Two distinct examples of these are as follows”

“Because there’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline no matter how many times it’s swept away.”

The ocean is given a person’s attribute – that of the actions “refuses’ and “kissing” hence, this is  clearly a personification which is a classic attribute to human’s determination to succeed in his goal no matter what the barricade is nor how many times the goal keeps getting out of reach.

“This world is made out of sugar: it can crumble easily, but don’t be afraid to stick your tongue out and taste it.”

The above quoted lines are an example of metaphor – the world is compared to sugar. People need sugar to make whatever food taste sweet. In the poem, it is temptation that can lure people to failure, however, the would-be-mother in the poem, encourages her daughter to taste it (to make the living or the process of growing up complete?). It’s part of life.

The Theme
The theme that could easily comes to mind after reading the poem is:
“Mothers know best”. However, this is a clich矇 and it is much better to veer away from the common for such an uncommon poem. Hence, “The home is where safety and love begins, and a mother will always be a daughter’s home.” is the theme that comes to be considered.

Nowadays, most children are irritated when their parents “interfere
“in their affairs, if not too late, that this interference is the protection and affection of their parents.



This review is written by Prof. Marissa T. Aquino, Christ the King College, Calbayog City, Samar, Philippines.


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