Sarah Kay; If I Should I have a daughter

One of my favourite forms of poetry is spoken word, and this poem in particular is amazing! The poem can be watched here: or read here:

Spoken word poetry is a form of poetry that is meant to be performed in front of an audience, but even without the performance, the vivid words themselves are still able to get across the purpose of the poem. With the poem, ” B (If I Should Have a Daughter),” Sarah Kay emphasizes the many lessons of life by telling them to her hypothetical daughter. She uses the technique of a teaching and supportive tone like that of a mother as she talks about her personal experiences of her life. These experiences are scattered throughout the poem, and are meant to inspire the reader to live a life of meaning. We as the readers, are placed in the shoes of her hypothetical daughter as she relays back the things her own mother told her ( our hypothetical grandmother). Lessons of taking chances, understanding others, and getting back up when, ” Life knocks you down,” are all the things our own mothers would say. Reminiscing about our childhood, we can dig up these pieces of advice as we read on. Kay uses this narrative story to tell a story of a mother and a child, but as a parallel for reality, it is meant  to teach the audience a few things about living! This poem is one of my favourite all time poems due to it’s  deviation from standard poetry and discussion of important values of life. The hidden meanings behind Kay’s many metaphors and personifications allow the readers to experience these lessons in a totally different universe. Instead of telling her daughter to persevere, Kay uses nature to describe true perseverance, which is evident when she states,” Your boots will fill with rain and you’ll be up to your knees in disappointment [but] those are the days you have all the more reason to say thank you, cause there is nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline no matter how many times it’s sent away.” The ultimate comparison of a human’s will to not give up can never beat the ocean’s refusal of kissing the shoreline even though it’s been pushed away so many times. Kay’s utility of these comparisons gives readers a concrete understanding of the many concepts she strives to teach. Her way with words, pacing, and insight are the many reasons of why I treasure this poem deeply. It is not only a great poem to contemplate about, but a poem that is a wonderful example for aspiring poets!


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