Paul Elisha: The Hand That Rocks the Cradle

Although William Ross Wallace may have coined the most ardently honest description of Mothers’ Day, before the malediction of American Marketing made a mockery of it, his brief citation still exudes a reality most humans wish was true:  “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.”

Like most poets, this commentator still believes the essence of what most of us wish were true is best conveyed in verse.  Ergo, there are many ways and words to accomplish this.  In her volume of poems “Your Native Land, Your Life,” Adrienne Rich writes: “You:  air-driven   reft   from the tuber-bitten soil   that was your portion   from the torched-out village   the Marxist study group   the Zionist cell   café` or C`heder   Zaddik or Freudian,   straight or gay  woman or man   O you   stripped   bared   appalled   stretched to mere spirit   yet still physical   your irreplaceable knowledge   lost at the mud-slick bottom of the world   how you held fast   with your bone-meal fingers to yourselves  each other   and strangers   how you touched   held-up from falling  what was already half-cadaver   how your life-cry taunted extinction with its wild, crude   ‘So What?’………You:  air-driven: reft:  are yet our teachers  trying to speak to us in sleep   trying to help us wake.”

“In these poems,” Rich states, “I have been trying to speak from, and of, and to, my country.  To speak a different claim from those staked by the patriots of the sword; to speak of the land itself, the cities, and of the imaginations that have dwelt here, at risk, unfree, assaulted, erased……  I draw strength from the traditions of all those who, with every reason to despair, have refused to do so.”

From words like these, drawn from the heart of a poet, wife, mother, teacher, ultimately gay, proud American citizen, other American poets are inspired with a new optimism and hope for a better tomorrow for all Americans.  A few short months ago, after reading them, this poet was moved himself, to write the following:


All at once, the waning edge of a late

January sunset's incandescence

Detonates a gasp. This glinting

Flash of brilliance but a breath for some,

As nature measures it, that splash

Of mandarin tint against blue so

Faint, it wrings a tear. Tomorrow's

Morning sky will appear unchanged;

Perhaps an errant wisp rearranged but

Nothing taints this computation's sum,

That vows another spring will come.

The views expressed by commentators are solely those of the authors, and do not reflect the views of this station or its management.