Homing In/Night Feeding


Mother and Child, M.C. Escher, 1921

Homing In

Baby’s mouth eyes nipple
like a blind poet bobbing
over the wine-dark sea.

Nipple, the limpet-decked thru-hull
of storm-tossed ship, spurts, spills, the
dear-sought ode,
planking swelled
to burst, till calm calm
croon descends, and the baby, poet, breast, turn
into sibilant
moons, orbits interlocked, rocked,


Night Feeding

Skin shines
the only light
in the whole night world–radiance
of breast, head, fingers, as heat
flows from magma to
mouth, melts one
into the other, melds gaze,
eyelids, into a single beam, enough
to adore by.


I’m sorry – cheating today with two poems for Kerry O’Connor’s prompt on With Real Toads, to write an “ekphrastic” poem based on an Escher drawing.  I think that ekphrastis is supposed to be more of a description of the art work – since my first poem “homing in” didn’t really describe the drawing in any specific way,  I tried my hand again.  Neither quite does the trick.  On the other hand, I do hope the poems promote nursing babies–breastfeeding, in my mind, one of  the most important thing you can do for your child, if possible.  (And great for mothers too.) 

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26 Comments on “Homing In/Night Feeding”

  1. I think both pieces work so well as extensions of each other. Your descriptions are amazing. I like the tactile moments captured in the first – I felt like I was the woman in the print – and that’s ekphrasis enough for me.

  2. grammalynn Says:

    One of my favorite Escher’s.

    Sent from my iPhone

  3. brian miller Says:

    actually i rather like the first…the sounds in it as you read it are really good k…very nice allit….love the first three lines as well…ha…as kerry said, very tactile as well…

    hope the cold is continuing to clear up….finally back fully today….

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Poor you with that stomach! The worse kind of sickness. I like the first better – or worked on it more – but then thought it really was more own Homeric sort of musing with not so much to do with the Escher, so came up with second. Kind of slight maybe. Oh well. I am feeling better but not feeling so great about work week! k.

  4. I think there’s a lot of leeway in ekphrasis, at least as it’s done in modern times–and part of ‘speaking out’ the visuals is reacting and responding with/to the images they induce, so I don’t think the first is too far afield–especially when you mention the twin moons of baby-face and breast, both being rocked–that wasn’t something that I’d noticed, and it made me look again *into* the pic, as I think you, as author were looking, seeing both the universal(nursing mother) and the particular(poet nursed by the cosmos?) Anyway, I like both very much–the first stanza actually reminded me of a Leonard Cohen song that is pretty baffling and has these lines
    “There’s something that I’m watching
    Means a lot to me
    It’s a broken banjo bobbing
    On the dark infested sea…” the mood seems similar to me–flotsam, what’s important, what’s symbolic, broken and bobbing out there waiting for us to pull it out of the dark, fix it up and play something on it. Or not–Cohen’s song is much much darker.

    Sorry about the long pontificating. Also like the image of magma flowing and melting, dissolving individual identity in the second. Really good stuff in both, and I totally agree on the breastfeeding–it’s an important connection, physically and emotionally.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Always happy for pontificating – which you never do! Though you are probably a better reader than me poet – my winedark was really from Homer and the idea of the blind mouth physically bobbing above the breast trying to latch on – but of course as you move on into a poem, things move beyond original conceptions, and all kinds of other stuff enters in. The Cohen song sounds beautiful. Will check out.

      I hope I don’t offend anyone with breast-feeding stance. I do understand that it is physically difficult for some – though I think modern medecine and a Western unease with it probably makes the difficulty harder to overcome. I am amazed when people just dismiss it out of hand. Just can’t fathom that and so sad, it seems to me – anyway, thanks.

  5. Helen Dehner Says:

    I can’t imagine anyone being offended by women who breast feed … the best way to nurture a newborn .. for so many reasons! I love the contrast between both of your poems … the storm tossed ship ~ the night world radiance .. awesome!!

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks – no, I meant some are offended by people who* push* breastfeeding. They talk about it being a personal choice. It is a personal choice, of course, but I think that using the words can imply that breastfeeding or bottlefeeding are equal alternatives. And really I think breastfeeding is just so much much healthier for the child and important, that the alternatives are far from equal.

  6. janehewey Says:

    I love the senses you open in the first poem. “Baby’s mouth eyes nipple” is a wonderful, juicy-packed line. Limpet, the sea and ship-beautiful motion and sound. Almost can’t believe I’d never seen this print before your poem. Now I will always have them together in my mind : ) I believe nursing is one of the best things we can do for our babies and ourselves. I know women who tried to nurse and could not, perhaps it is not something to take for granted. My memories of nursing my babies are vivid. “orbits interlocked” -absolutely.

  7. Susan Says:

    I enjoyed both poems very much and differently, tho both had me glancing back at the picture. I read MZ’s before reading yours, so I noted the moods and narrative stance which throw emphasis uniquely for each. The first gave me so much echo of roundness and ways in.; the second gave me skin-light and adoration and I loved its intimacy.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Ha. Yes, MZ’s is completely different! I was a bit taken aback – I liked hers very much, but it is an extremely different stance. Perhaps because she is somewhat younger than I am and less nostalgic about certain things? Who knows? Thanks. k.

  8. Kay Davies Says:

    Two excellent poems, but I love the second one. It’s gorgeous.

  9. This was awesome and evoked such fond memories of breast feeding. Good for you for your advocacy. My grandson used to have a t-shirt that said: Babies unite, breast feeding is our right! I especially liked the second poem.

  10. I enjoyed both poems. Wonderful imagery!

  11. David King Says:

    Both fine poems, but for me Homing in is extraordinary. There is so much to get pleasure and inspiration from in these lines. The use of language is just plain wonderful.

  12. aprille Says:

    That last line is simply delicious.
    I agree with your stance on breastfeeding, with the proviso that mothers are sure they don’t have myasthenia gravis. A crippling disorder that can only be passed on by breastfeeding. Little did I know….

  13. Luke Prater Says:

    great imagery throughout (both) and excellent breast-feeding advocacy! I couldn’t agree more. More than well-writ

  14. claudia Says:

    awesome! i breast-fed all my kids and it is an experience i wouldn’t want to miss…brought back some warm, warm memories…sigh

  15. ladynyo Says:

    Well, they do. Both lovely, and the second one? The essence of a baby’s eye to what matters!

    Never had the chance to breast feed, but this goes straight to the heart.

    Lovely, both of them, K.


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