The Bad Mother

By Susan Griffin b. 1943 Susan Griffin
The bad mother wakes from dreams
of imperfection trying to be perfection.
All night she’s engineered a train
too heavy with supplies
to the interior. She fails.
The child she loves
has taken on bad habits, cigarettes
maybe even drugs. She
recognizes lies. You don’t
fool me, she wants to say,
the bad mother, ready to play
and win.
This lamb who’s gone –
this infant she is
pinioned to – does not listen,
she drives with all her magic down a
different route to darkness where
all life begins.

“The Bad Mother” from Bending Home: Selected Poems 1967-1998 by Susan Griffin. Published in 1998 by Copper Canyon Press. www.coppercanyonpress.org

Source: Bending Home: Selected Poems 1967-1998 (Copper Canyon Press, 1998)

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

Poet Susan Griffin b. 1943

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Subjects Gender & Sexuality, Living, Social Commentaries, Parenthood

Biography

Poet, essayist, and playwright Susan Griffin was born in 1943 in Los Angeles, California. An early awareness of the horrors of World War II and her childhood in the High Sierras have had an enduring influence on her work, which includes poetry, prose, and mixed genre collections. A playwright and radical feminist philosopher, Griffin has also published two books in a proposed trilogy of “social autobiography.” Her work considers . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Gender & Sexuality, Living, Social Commentaries, Parenthood

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.