An admiration of ‘Children’ by Vicki Feaver

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(555 words)

In this essay, I will show how effectively Vicki Feaver, a female poet, conveys the influence of not only a mother but also possibly all mothers. This poem is about a loving parent who wishes her child to have an upbringing of love, care, and ambition.

The first two tercets (three lines of verse) convey an image of a woman through careless accident or careful plan believes the child is brought into this life to be loved. Feaver uses the pronoun ‘we’ to encompass all mothers but it is also personal. The mother is there ‘where they (the child) began’. The description of the children being, ‘red mewling strangers’ conveys the recognition of the reality of what has happened at the birth and the querulous crying of the child. Feaver furthers this point with, ‘they tear our threshold’ to show how life for the mother will change now they have to care for their child. It almost feels like Feaver is expressing the magnitude and intensity of a newborn. However, Feaver’s fondness for this joy of new birth shows compassion with the line ‘immediately we love them’.

The next three tercets speak of a love for the growing child. Feaver comments on others making reference to the newborn which enthuses the genuine pride a mother must feel as in, ‘we smile and blush’. However, the mother has to deal with the baby’s ‘cries’. Despite this, what is the baby’s pain is sympathetic, compassionate parental pain. This shows the child’s feelings are the mother’s instant feelings; the mother is almost subservient to the needs of the child. This is also shown in the line ‘and hold them tightly’. The feeling the mother develops from this indicates ‘a lost part of ourselves’. Had the mother lost the feeling of true unadulterated love? This sensation, of the strongest forces in nature, harmonises with the mother’s wish for the child to have all the things that she did not. It is as if the mother’s life needed a child to foster these feelings.

In the last five tercets, Feaver reflects on the influence of the mother looking at herself. Any new life brings the prospect of that child being able to accomplish and have more than her mother. The mother wants to give the child, ‘all the things we never had’. The mistakes that have happened in the mother’s own life, she wishes to avoid them for her child. She is aware of the pitfalls. This is shown in the wish to walk, ‘in front of them with warning flags’. The internal or external forces over which the mother seems to have no control is expressed in, ‘we who have failed to be authors of our lives right theirs’. ‘To make heroes of them’, mothers are not content simply to protect, they also wish to make the child’s life better by feeding their babies with their dreams, to ‘wait and watch like gardeners for flowers’. The flowers will bloom into colour and admiration.

Feaver’s poem portrays a lot of true beliefs about a mother’s influence. A doting parent from the birth of their child is about influencing their children in many subtle, meaningful, and prospective ways. The mother wishes the utmost best for the child’s upbringing and life. There is an undying love and fondness mothers have for their children.

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