June 15, 2012

Poetry Friday--"Daystar"

Here is a poem that speaks to every woman who has ever had to spend her days and nights taking care of her family. I'm not saying that there aren't rewards to being a wife and mother, just that it can sometimes mean that palaces will go unbuilt.
by Rita Dove

She wanted a little room for thinking:
but she saw diapers steaming on the line,
a doll slumped behind the door.

So she lugged a chair behind the garage
to sit out the children's naps.

Sometimes there were things to watch--
the pinched armor of a vanished cricket,
a floating maple leaf. Other days
she starred until she was assured
when she closed her eyes
she'd see only her own vivid blood.

She had a hour at best before Liza appeared
pouting from the top of the stairs.
And just what was mother doing
out back with the field mice? Why,

building a palace. Later
that night when Thomas rolled over and
lurched into her, she would open her eyes
and think of the place that was hers
for an hour--where
she was nothing,
pure nothing, in the middle of the day.

Here's Ms. Dove reading the poem for Bill Moyers:

Rita Dove reads 'Daystar' from BillMoyers.com on Vimeo.

A Year of Reading is the place to be for the Poetry Friday Round-Up.

Photo by Russell Lee courtesy Library of Congress.


  1. I'm thinking of ALL the things that get in the way of palaces being built...

    Powerful. Thanks.

  2. 'palaces being built' a very precise phrase; enjoyed the poem and especially the video reading

    much love...

  3. There's always something to get in the way of those palaces, isn't there?

  4. YES!! My own mother taught me the value of staring at the wall for a hour a day. Out the window or in back of the garage would be even better.

  5. Andi, your mother was great teacher.