Saturday, May 12, 2007


portrait of f.ward by Martin Verrall

f.ward's poetry has been included in many journals and anthologies over the years and she has won several awards, most notably second place in the national People‘s Poetry Award (1999)and most recently the award for best single poem at the 2006 Art Hamilton Literary Awards. She is the author of three solo collections of poetry; "side effects", "Life & Ledger" and "The Writer Seems Unaware…" and editor/publisher of Hammered Out, a literary journal based in Hamilton. She is also a visual artist and you can view some of her work at

  • In honour of Mother's Day...


    as soon as she wakes up
    she asks me
    "is it tomorrow, today?"
    because last night i told her
    i could fix Spiderman’s hand
    "tomorrow, when i get the right glue"
    (i'd already forgotten)

    then on the way to
    daycare & work
    we hear Smashing Pumpkins
    on the car radio

    "in spite of my rage
    i’m still just a rat in a cage"

    she likes it, sings along
    but gets it wrong

    "in spite of my age"

    at the daycare
    i wave good-bye
    through wired glass
    watch her turn away
    to join the waiting group
    of four year old


    she was telling me
    about her day
    at school
    & how at recess
    in the playground
    the little boy
    with the green jacket
    who is mean
    on the special stick
    she had planted
    in the ground
    & laughed

    "life is cruel"
    i said

    distracted as usual
    the poet/mother
    that i am

    "life is broken"
    she replied

    of the poet/mother
    that she is


    my four year old daughter
    for this galaxy pistol
    hanging in the toy section
    of the dollar store

    there she was
    snow white butt end
    curving sensuously
    up to a candy floss shade
    of trigger
    to a hot pink 8 shooting
    translucent barrel
    (all the better to see that
    pumping action)

    she came
    with an extension
    a silencer sort of thing
    lace patterned in white
    with red tip

    all this
    for a buck

    she was
    made in china
    packaged in france
    & easily sold
    to us north americans
    except for the fact that:

    i am
    a politically correct
    conscientious citizen/mother
    who is supposed to be disgusted
    by such merchandise
    & therefore dragged
    my sceaming child
    away from the offending item
    & over to the candy isle
    where we bought
    a big sucker

    for pacification

    i snuck back later
    & bought it
    for myself
    (for educational
    & research purposes only
    of course)

    i had to know
    if the silencer
    really worked


    every time we'd go
    to the variety store
    around the corner
    she'd ask me to buy her
    the camouflage
    combat outfit
    complete with
    little black machine gun
    made for 12” dolls
    (like Barbie)
    & i'd say
    “no guns…no way!”
    but she kept on asking
    until this past
    saturday morning
    when her stepfather
    took her over there
    to give me a break
    & i forgot to warn him
    so now Barbie’s
    tiny plastic thumb
    has snapped off
    from being jammed
    against the trigger
    once too often
    by four year old fingers
    & my daughter’s
    all upset
    blaming her stepfather
    (in some convoluted way)
    & whining at me
    while Barbie lies
    naked & thumbless
    with all the others
    in a cold plastic heap
    including a
    handless Spiderman
    & a
    headless Harry Potter
    all silently waiting
    for Crazy Glue


    Blogger Penn said...

    Lovely, Frances! and just in time...
    May 13, at 1pm: standing for generations to come

    Dear friends, mothers, those who mother, and those born of mothers --

    Mother's Day originated not as a Hallmark's Card but as a call to peace..."In 1870, Unitarian Julia Ward Howe, composed the Mothers' Day Proclamation, a compelling call to women of all nations to gather and lobby for world peace. In part it says 'Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender to those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.'"

    I wanted you to know about a group from Ohio ( that has put out a call for everyone to stand for a better world on Mother's Day, May 13, at 1 pm local time. This is where I'll be standing:

    Among lilacs, redbuds, blossoming crabapple trees...standing in violets and forgetmenots...while the ducks look on...

    I'll be reciting poetry from the last pages of my book, Binding Twine, up on as my own daughter prepares for her BirthingDay, end of May...


    Our daughters push beyond us,
    when the power is strong,
    unrolling the future to

    We can no longer stand
    behind our rules. We have
    only our word and theirs
    to be free. All we can do
    is learn without
    obligation. To. From.

    I free you free me.
    Liberation intertwined
    with a difference.
    The cycle of generation
    spirals once more.

    We return to our mothers,
    offering them the gift
    our daughters offer us.


    For those mothers who remain
    ashore and shoring, mending
    the holes, cutting the cords,
    gathering stray strands.

    Weave the common thread
    wide and strong. Make it hold.

    Make it glow like that
    first cord we almost
    remember, the one they
    cut off too soon.


    For the mothers
    who spot the pattern
    and laugh


    digs wells in
    the dried clay
    our tears made moist.

    We are jars that love
    has filled emptied
    and fills again.

    Please join me if you can, or stand with us all wherever you are.

    Bees and flowers,

    10:05 AM  

    Post a Comment

    << Home