What are some examples of poetry written from mother to son?


Quick Answer

Langston Hughes wrote a famous poem titled "Mother to Son," in which the speaker is a mother addressing her son. Other well-known poets, such as Sharon Olds and Lucille Clifton, have also written poems depicting a mother-son dyad.

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Full Answer

In Langston Hughes' "Mother to Son," the speaker depicts life as a difficult endeavor but nevertheless encourages her son to remain steadfast in it. Hughes' speaker uses stairs as a metaphor for life and likens perseverance to climbing those stairs. The mother in "Mother to Son" is one who has endured hardships and wants to prepare her son for the same trials.

Sharon Old's "My Son The Man" illustrates a mother's observations of her son as he matures into a man. The speaker describes her son's shoulders widening and compares his physical transformation to the kind of magic trick Houdini would perform. Throughout the poem, Old's speaker struggles to accept that her grown-up son was once her own small baby boy.

In Lucille Clifton's poem "Wishes for Sons," the speaker wants her sons to experience the same physical discomforts that women endure. Clifton's speaker lists menstrual cramps, menopausal symptoms and a gynecological visit as wishes she bestows upon her sons. In the last stanza, the speaker explains that she wishes these discomforts upon her sons so that they are not arrogant like the male gynecologists she has encountered.

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