From Beth Ann Fennelly's very nice piece, "The Secret of Secrets," about the correlation between motherhood and poetry. The essay will appear in the upcoming Winter Reading Issue of the Oxford American:
A thing I love about mothering is a thing I love about poetry: Both make you a child again. Pound said famously about poetry: "Make it new." Toddlers at play make the same demand. We are dipped in turpentine, the film is wiped from our eyeballs, we really see what we are looking at (why do we rarely see?). Both poetry and motherhood are humbling, they do not care whether you appear civilized to your neighbors, they are greedy, they demand you eat with your fingers, they lie in wait for the moment you announce you've got it nailed (fool!), and then it is all tantrums, or all silence. Both cost you more than you think you can bear, repay you more than you deserve. How to get the right last line, or how to get the child to eat asparagus--both are problem that repel logic, oh ridiculous limited logic. The kryptonite of creativity alone can solve them. Why should Claire eat her asparagus? It's the lion-tamer's whip, and she doesn't want to be tamed. Naturally.
"Why?" both poetry and motherhood ask, and when they receive the answer, ask, "Why?" again. Both terrify us because we can't control them.