I am proud to say that I come from a very creatively-inclined family. One of my extended cousins is a very talented writer, a couple of my aunts are artists, my grandmothers and mom (and other extended family) did a lot of beautiful handwork, such as tailoring, quilting and knitting. In fact, my dad's mom published her first book when she was 90 years old!
Another one of my aunts is a very wonderful choir singer and musician. I remember when we would go visit family in Canada (or family would visit us in California), and she would sing to us and play her flute and guitar. It happens that she's also blind, although that never made a difference to us as children (except for when we cut up one of her braille books because we liked the patterns in it, unfortunately - I'm still sorry about that). And we grew up hearing how our dad, her older brother, would take her on mini adventures when she was very small, such as climbing trees or playing down by the railroad tracks.
Each generation, though, seems to get more and more protective of their children. Not a bad thing, but sometimes it seems like we veer too far into overprotective. I sometimes wonder what it would be like to raise a child who had a disability. Would I be overprotective or would I let him/her have the same freedoms, as much as possible, as my other children? I imagine the fear on both sides - me, as a mom, afraid that something would happen to my loved one, and the fear of my child to let him/herself go.
My poem "Blindly" comes from this imagining, from looking at this fear head-on and hoping that it would be something we'd both be able to overcome. Although the word "blindly" is used as a nod to my aunt, the poem is more about the fear we face in any situation, both as parents and children, and how that fear can either hold us back... or when strong enough to face that fear, it can give us the freedom to find out who we are.
I hope you enjoy reading my poem in Poetry Quarterly. It's just one of many poems by a wonderful group of poets.
Who the heck is Alison McBain?
I am a freelance writer and poet with over two hundred short pieces published in magazines and anthologies. Check out my 2024 writing challenge to write a book a week at Author Versus AI. For more info, please check out my "About Me" page.
© Alison McBain. All rights reserved