A mother’s poetry for a son’s war

I am not all that big on Anna Quindlen. I agree with many of her positions on politics and issues, but her writing doesn’t seem to draw me in (my wife is a big fan, though, so I know Anna Q must be on target).

But in the recent Newsweek, Anna Q uses her back page spotlight to shine a light on a mother’s relationship with her son in a way that gets at the heart of the personal conflicts associated with the ongoing war in Iraq and the need for a parent to remain connected to their children who have grown up to be warriors. The column shows how a mother’s poetry can get at something deep in a relationship.

This passage from the column struck me as particularly meaningful:

For Fran the poems were not political, except to the extent that all politics is personal. Sometimes everyone forgets that war is not a shout but a whisper: a folded flag, an empty bedroom, a woman who has lost that part of her life that made her feel most alive.

In this celebration of poetry, it is worth reading Anna Quindlen’s column and read into the emotion of the these two people, through the mother’s poems. It may not change your opinion of the war, but it may bring you deeper into the struggle that so many families are undergoing while the conflict rages.

It certainly touched my heart.

Peace (through the hidden power of writing),

One Comment
  1. I land on the AQ side with your wife and I’m glad to see that you remain open minded to find a way to appreciate her. I am not actually a fan of her novels, but I do love her columns. In fact, the first collection of her columns just brought in right in and I’ve used them with students to get them writing powerful essays, in the old days of my teaching.

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