Influenced by the style of “plainspoken English” utilized by Phillip Larkin (“Deborah Garrison”), Deborah Garrison writes what she knows, with seemingly simple language, and incorporating aspects of her life into her poetry. As a working mother, the narrator of Garrison’s, “Sestina for the Working Mother” provides insight for the readers regarding inner thoughts and emotions she experiences in her everyday life. Performing the daily circus act of balancing work and motherhood, she, daydreams of how life might be and struggles with guilt, before ultimately realizing her chosen path is what it right for her and her family.
Fulfilling the roles of both mother and breadwinner creates an assortment of reactions for the narrator. In the poem’s opening lines, she commences her day in the harried role as a mother, and with “too much to do,” (2) expresses her struggle with balancing priorities. After saying goodbye to her children she rushes out the door, transitioning from both, one role to the next, as well as, one emotion to another. As the day continues, when reflecting on…show more content… She states that there is “No time for a sestina for the working mother,” however, the poem is, in actuality, a sestina about a working mother. Seemingly, this irony illustrates the competitive feelings involved in juggling the commitments of motherhood and outside employment. Additionally, she uses references of “as if shot from a cannon” (7) and “It has tamped her down tight and lit her out the door” (22), as well as the multiple uses of flight. Garrison appears to use these images to demonstrate both the hectic pace of this lifestyle, the push the narrator feels moving from mom to employee, as well as, the guilt she experiences. Finally, she presents opposing images of sunshine and shadows, anxiety and happiness, and talking and listening to express the various sentiments involved in her