The title, The Muse Mother, represents a metaphor. It represents a relationship between a mother and a role model. The speaker describes this mother, who is taking care of her child in the midst of what most of us would think of as “too much to handle”, as if she were the only inspiration or guidance left in the world. The speaker describes this mother as a multitasker as she cleans her childs mouth swith a “nappy liner” in the rain. We know that this woman is capable of handling chaos and also a busy woman through the speakers’ description of the scene: ”a woman hunkering her busy hand worrying a child’s face working a nappy liner over his sticky, loud round of a mouth.” The words I have highlighted are clear verbs and adjectives justifying this mother’s capablility of handling a “sticky” situation even in the middle of her “busy” life. We can see and even feel the speakers admirablity of this mother through the descriptions in the 4th stanza of the poem: “Her hand’s a cloud accross his face, making light rain, smiles and a frown, a smile again.” What an awesome compliment I’d say. If a mom could do that I’d be pretty impressed too. The scene continues to unfold into the 5th stanza where the mother and child leave the speakers’ view: “She jockeys him to her hip,” clearly she’s in charge of the situation, another admirable quality, “pockets the nappy liner”, cleans up her mess, “collars rain on her nape”, first takes care of her child then herself, “and moves away”, she has done her job.
Two metaphors were very apparent to me: “The Muse Mother”, and “Her hand’s a cloud”. As I stated in the begining, “muse” meaning model, or inspiration, and “mother” corrolate in a way that really ties this entire poem together. The line “her hand’s a cloud” represents another metaphor, and creates an image of protection from mother to child; another characteristic the speaker admires.
After the mother and child depart, the speaker says that his “mind stays fixed”. The topic of language is brought up in the remaining stanzas of the poem. Clearly there is an underlying meaning as to why this topic is so ubruptly brought up in the poem. Here, is where I discover the theme of The Muse Mother. The speaker thinks to himself: “If I could only decline her…from this rainy street again to her roots, she might teach me a new language…”. My translation being: “If only I could understand her, how she does what she does, if I could figure out where she learned what she has and become the person that she has, maybe I could learn something from her and truly understand what it feels like to be capable of what she is.” Kinda long and drawn out but you get the point.
The speaker continues with the lines “to be a sibyl” or profit, “able to sing the past” learn from past experiences, “in pure syllables”, with true understanding, “…able to speak at last my mother tongue”, finally be the person that I am meant to be, the person that my mother was, the person that this mother I observe is.