19 Mar My Mother
by Ann Taylor (1782-1866)
Who sat and watched my infant head
When sleeping on my cradle bed,
And tears of sweet affection shed?
When pain and sickness made me cry,
Who gazed upon my heavy eye,
And wept for fear that I should die?
Who taught my infant lips to pray
And love God’s holy book and day,
And walk in wisdom’s pleasant way?
And can I ever cease to be
Affectionate and kind to thee,
Who wast so very kind to me,
Ah, no! the thought I cannot bear,
And if God please my life to spare
I hope I shall reward they care,
When thou art feeble, old and grey,
My healthy arm shall be thy stay,
And I will soothe thy pains away,
About the poem
‘My Mother’ takes the form of a catechism. The first three rhymed lines of each stanza poses a question or sets out a series of descriptive statements. The answer or response to each question or statement is always returned in the fourth/final line. In this poem, the response if ‘My Mother’. The poem was written at a time when infant mortality was high. Ann Taylor captured this reality in the second stanza.