Saturday, January 29, 2011

Adventures in Lit

I'm am enrolled in 2 Literature classes this semester.  YAY!!!
 Here is my first assignment in my Intro to Lit class.
I chose to do an analysis on a poem about abortion.  Though I have never had one I have had to struggle through that decision once and thus it was the poem that most effect on me.  Its a little morbid, very real, and something most people never face, but if you ever do you can ppreciate the struggle.

So here it is.  My first adventure in Lit class!

The poem:
"The Lost Baby Poem" by Lucille Clifton

the time i dropped your almost body down

down to meet the waters under the city
and run one with the sewage to the sea
what did i know about waters rushing back
what did i know about drowning
or being drowned

you would have been born in winter
in the year of the disconnected gas
and no car
we would have made the thin walk
over the genecy hill into the canada winds
to let you slip into a stranger's hands
if you were here i could tell you
these and some other things

and if i am ever less than a mountain
for your definite brothers and sisters
let the rivers wash over my head
let the sea take me for a spiller of seas
let black men call me stranger always
for your never named sake

My Analysis:

I chose to analyze "The Lost Baby Poem" because it had more effect on me than any of the other poems that we have read so far. I have never had an abortion, but I have had to deal with the possibility of an abortion before and make a decision for myself and consider the possible guilt and consequences that would go along with my decision.

The title of the poem speaks a lot about what she is feeling. "The Lost Baby Poem" sounds like she is feeling the loss emotionally. She couldn’t know what that loss would be before, but now after the fact she is feeling the loss and the guilt and despair that accompanies it. Also on a more literal level she is talking about the baby that she lost. The one she will never know.

In the beginning of the poem you get the feeling or her despair and hopelessness. She talks about the experience and uses the metaphor of drowning to give you the feel of her being swallowed up by guilt for what she has done. She says "What did I know about drowning" which speaks to that fact that she could not imagine the despair that she now feels from that actions that she took.

The second stanza changes into justification of her actions. It speaks about her being in a bad place in her life and not capable of the care of a child especially with the passage "in the year of the disconnected gas and no car". Then she continues with further justification of not giving her unborn child a chance and giving that child away to strangers by the passage "we would have made the thin walk over genesee hill into the canada wind to watch you slip like ice into strangers' hands". It seems as if she felt that her child wouldn’t have had much of a chance even if she were to give it up to someone else.

In the end she seems to be reflective of the experience and then she seems to find resolve for the future. She intends to be a "mountain" for her future children. She wants to be strong and steady and there for her future children. She goes as far as vowing to herself that she would be that rock or she would welcome the punishment and ostracisation from her own people for her actions if she were to not follow through by saying "let black men call me stranger always for your never named sake"


  1. this is a beautiful poem but very dark.
    your analyzes seems right on target.. good luck

  2. OH honey, better you than me....... But I do wish you luck and when you are done, come to my place!!!

    Hugs to you honey!