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

POET’S REGION Ireland

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

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Couplet

 Eavan  Boland

Biography

Eavan Boland was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1944. The daughter of a diplomat and a painter, Boland spent her girlhood in London and New York, returning to Ireland to attend secondary school in Killiney and later university at Trinity College in Dublin. Though still a student when she published her first collection, 23 Poems (1962), Boland’s early work is informed by her experiences as a young wife and mother, and her growing . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

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

POET’S REGION Ireland

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Couplet

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.