Today, I’m re-reading Dove’s “Daystar.” And I’m listening to Dove read “Daystar.”
An yesterday I listened to my students read and discuss “Daystar” – they couldn’t stop talking about the word “lurch” which they all agreed was a strange and “gross” word even though they didn’t know what it meant. We did eventually get to discussing why that word was in the poem, and what the poet may be doing in choosing that word. I thoroughly enjoyed their back-and-forth about the meaning and merit of this ONE word. That’s what language and literature teachers want, right?
I fear the readers will imagine that the speaker is necessarily unhappy or even suspect that maybe she is mistreated by her family – that she needs to be rescued.
She would open her eyes
and think of the place that was hers
for an hour–where she was nothing,
pure nothing, in the middle of the day
Certainly we witness speaker’s desire for escape to her “palace.” But perhaps these are not always matters of (un)happiness – nor is it something that must be (or can be) fixed. It just is.
And I say “fear” because I think such a reading could be damning and damaging – it’s what makes mothers feel ashamed to admit to herself and to others that she experiences these feelings. Something along the lines of – if I seem to relate to it “too much” I fear someone might assume that I’m in some kind of trouble or that I may need help. Without being a bad mother or an unhappy mother, I think, a mother could feel these things. Because it just is – and can it be just that, free of judgment or evaluation?