Through Clarke’s use of direct address


Through Clarke’s use of direct address, developed my understanding of the poem and the love, conflict relationship between the mother and the daughter. Direct address is used in the first stanza where Clark quotes ‘I can remember you, child’ Instantly connected me and also widened my knowledge of the poem by making me feel deeply connected to the poem as it is like the poet is talking to me personally. The phrase ‘you’ is especially important as Clark never addresses her daughters name throughout the poem only in the title. The poet emphasizes these lines by structuring it to direct address as it not only talks about her child it also talks to the readers. This in return provides a personal connection towards the poem as it forces the reader to be drawn in to it and also puts them in the position of the daughter which helps develop an understanding of Clarke’s purpose – why her baby had to become a teenager. Thus, my understanding of the text here is shaped into love from the mothers constant remembrance of birth and the conflict between the mother and daughters need for dependency and independency, due to the use of direct address.

In the first stanza, Clarke helps to structure her poem with the use of Enjambments. Enjambements are an incomplete syntax that run from one poetic line to the next instead of having full stops. This effectively pulls the reader along from one line to the next so that we can establish a better understanding of the text which is, why did my baby have to become a teenager?. Enjambments are used when Clarke quotes,

‘We want, we shouted,
To be two, to be ourselves.’

This enjambment is used to help the reader understand the separation, conflict, between the mother and the daughter which forces the reader to pause and recognize the baby being born. The use of the phrase ‘to be ourselves’ in the enjambment creates a clear understanding of there want to be independent but will always be a struggle as clarke quotes ‘we want, we shouted’ which reinforces there conflict that they will always have. Overall, by using enjambments Clark creates a vivid picture in our minds about stress and the need of the mother and daughter to be separated and individual.

The poem is also structured into two stanzas that help emphasize the break of Catrin growing up. This in return makes us wonder what happened in between that time, it also developed my understanding of “why did my baby have to become a teenager” and reveals that the mother believes that Catrin is still a baby because of how fast time has passed by, due to the jump from labour in the first stanza, to Catrin wanting to become independent in the second. To support this, Clarke quotes “From the heart’s pool that old rope, Tightening about my life, Trailing love and conflict,”
This shows similarities from when he mother was in the hospital again giving birth to Catrin, where they are still conflicted in order to become independent. Primarily, the structure of two stanzas helped construct my understanding of the text, and that it is built into one of conflict and independency, due to the separation of the two stanzas in the poem.