In Praise Of Menstruation

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CHAPTER -3
THE BIOLOGICAL ASPECT OF MOTHERHOOD
1. Maternity and Body – Maternal Politics and Romanticism
Themes like adolescent changes and pregnancy, labour and child-birth, lactation and nurturing, caring and child-rearing, are recurrent themes related to the biological aspects of motherhood, in the poems written by women. This phase of maternity and the changes that accompany it, whether biological, psychological or socio-cultural, have been depicted from a variety of perspectives by women writers. Eunice De’Souza in her poem, “Catholic Mother”(1, see the appendix for full poem) depicts in a nutshell the issues that politicise motherhood. De’Souza, through the use of brief and cryptic sentences, depicts the predicament of a woman as mother. The poem though entitled, “Catholic Mother” has a male persona as the speaker.
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Lucille Clifton is a highly reputed and prolific poet. She is a distinguished Professor of Humanities at St.Mary’s College of Maryland and a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. Lucille Clifton is known for her depiction of the female experience through the ages. Here in this poem Lucille celebrates a woman’s fertility, she compares the menstrual flow to a river, if there is a river more beautiful than this bright as the blood red edge of the moon if there is a river more faithful than this returning each month to the same delta (l- 1-8)
The centralising metaphor here is that just as a river that flows through the barren land imparts it fertility, similarly it is the menstrual flow that is the first symbol of fertility for the woman. She compares the menstrual flow to the, Red edge of the moon (l - 4)

she further goes on to elaborate that the menstrual river is;

is a river braver than this coming and coming in a surge of passion, of pain if there is
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