Becoming Anne Bradstreet

By Eavan Boland b. 1944 Eavan Boland
It happens again
As soon as I take down her book and open it.
I turn the page.
My skies rise higher and hang younger stars.
The ship's rail freezes.
Mare Hibernicum leads to Anne Bradstreet's coast.
A blackbird leaves her pine trees
And lands in my spruce trees.
I open my door on a Dublin street.
Her child/her words are staring up at me:
In better dress to trim thee was my mind,
But nought save home-spun cloth, i' th' house I find.
We say home truths
Because her words can be at home anywhere—
At the source, at the end and whenever
The book lies open and I am again
An Irish poet watching an English woman
Become an American poet.

Eavan Boland, “Becoming Anne Bradstreet” from Shakespeare’s Sisters: Women Writers Bridge Five Centuries, published by the Folger Shakespeare Library. Copyright © 2012 by Eavan Boland. Reprinted by permission of Eavan Boland.

Source: Shakespeare’s Sisters: Women Writers Bridge Five Centuries (Folger Shakespeare Library, 2012)


Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Eavan Boland b. 1944


Subjects Living, The Mind, Nature, Seas, Rivers, & Streams, Stars, Planets, Heavens, Trees & Flowers, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets, Reading & Books

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Couplet