From My Commonplace Book - 71

For My Daughter

by Antonella Anedda

I love her fierceness when she fights me, shouting "Not fair!" Her eyes slitting
like shutters in cities by the sea.
Her life is rich with bonfires -- seen and unseen --
fires that burn through the turning years
bringing her to life again, and again, in a miracle of smoke.
This heat gives her a sense of forgiveness -- or so I imagine --
she kisses my back, capriciously, when I scold her.
Maybe she recalls the scalpel by which she was born.
Easy, the mark of its slash on my skin.
She rose from my belly as I slept. We're bound together
by peace, no shrieks of pain, and my modesty.
We're a canvas by Giovanni Bellini: a virgin and a sweet rabbit.

Antonella Anedda (Italian, born 1958) studied art history and teaches French at the University of of Siena-Arezzo. She has published several collections of poetry and essays and a book of translations of the poetry of Philippe Jaccottet. "For My Daughter" is included in The Farrar Straus and Giroux Book of Twentieth Century of Italian Poetry: An Anthology and was translated by Sarah Arvio.


reminds me of a poem i wrote for my daughter many years ago, when she was just a baby.
I'm not entirely sure about this poem though. I like the beginning, but it seems to change tack halfway through and for me fizzles out slightly.
Hi, justy. I see I left out a letter. In the second to last line, "modest" should be "modesty." Arrgghh. Every time I read over this, I find another typo.

Thanks for your response. I hadn't thought about a contrast between the first half and the second, but I see it now. The description of the fiery spirit of the little girl in the first part, and the peace of a Cesarean delivery in the second. I like the last line best, but I don't mind if you want to argue your point. Maybe I'm getting sentimental; I miss children. Also another PR member had told me about the impending birth of child in her extended family, and I was thinking of that when I chose a poem to post.
I think it's the 'sweet Rabbit' i object to - can't stand cutesy imagery. But it does stand out against the fiery daughter in the opening, so perhaps that was her intention?
The way she describes the caesarean as peaceful, without 'shrieks of pain', her modesty intact. She almost makes it sound pleasant, whereas i have always seen caesareans as brutal.

Well, she has done her job well and made me think!
Justy, I note your preference: no rabbits. But I can't promise that a rabbit won't pop up now and then in a poem. :)

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