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In reading Lorna Goodison’s poetry, I found that the Jamaican female experience is present throughout most of the pieces. I really enjoyed the way she took her own experiences and observations and translated them into poetry in a way that feels visceral and emotionally complex. One of my favorite poems from the selections is “Birth Stone,” which is about a pregnant woman being told to carry a stone in order to slow the delivery of her first child.


Put the woman stone on your head

And walk through no man’s land

Go home. When you walk, the stone

And not you yet, will bear down.


This poem is interesting to me in that it addresses what seems to be a rural, West Indian and female experience. It depicts the hardship of the woman experiencing the pregnancy as well as the strength and determination of the woman counseling her. I appreciated the imagery Goodison uses throughout this piece, especially the line that refers to her water breaking as, “clear heraldic water,” that would break free and wash her down. This part of the poem felt almost biblical in that the woman who was suffering now would be washed clean after surviving her trials and tribulations.

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