Known for her sensibility as a poet and as a writer, Lorna Crozier’s Mother and I, Walking presents a touching story of a little girl’s torment with the absence of her father but is consoled by the presence and love of her mother. Essentially, Mother and I, Walking argues the need of children to be loved by their parents and that the absence of one (in this case, the father) needs to be compensated by the devotion and greater love given by the parent who is there for the child (in this case, the mother).
The sense of belongingness and security versus the isolation and the coldness experienced by the child in the story shows how Crozier views the psychological struggle of having only one parent during a child’s developmental years.
Consisting of four unequal stanza of free verse poetry, Mother and I, Walking true to its title talks about a little girl traveling with her mother one cold night and reflecting on the absence of father leaving her tormented. Similar to the childhood of Crozier who had an alcoholic and absentee father, the little girl is besieged by the need and melancholy of her father’s absence seeping through her heart but is warmth by the realization that her mother is beside her walking side by side- seeing her through.
The absence of a father image through the pronouncements of the little girl through the statement “father is gone again” (I, 1) and “everyone is inside” the first stanza shows how the little girl perceives the differences of having a father. With a father, the girl and her mother could have been inside their home just like “everyone is inside” (II, 3).
At this early stage, the girl already knows the role that father plays in their lives: if the father is with them, they would not have been walking in the empty streets and instead, she and her mother could have been tucked inside their homes. However, the absence of the father forces them to stay in the street in the coldness of the night possibly coming from work. This pictures the longing and the melancholy of the girl- unlike other families, she is left with her mother needs to provide for her food and shelter and at the same time take care of her.
The emotional emptiness of the girl is further explored in the second stanza with words like “the cold cries” (II, 6) indicating the coldness she is feeling within her heart. Apparently, the little girl is aware of the differences between having a father and not having one. Curiously, she wonders what could have changed if her father is there. However, despite the longing for a father, the little girl is very much aware of her mother’s love.
While she feels vulnerable by the “push(ing)” and pull(ing)” she is experiencing, the little girl realizes that she is powerless to change her fate. However, the pulling of her mother’s coat and belly does not only warms her but also compensates for the lack of father’s love.
What is shown in the last stanza is the realization of the little girl, the warmth of her mother’s belly demonstrates the ample love that her mother bestows upon her. With the security she has felt the little girl begins to see the brighter side of things: she looks at their path and she sees “tracks of one animal” (1, 17) indicating that as long as they are one and together, they can thread through more cold nights walking.
The cold and in essence, the absence of the father no longer bothers the little girl. Finding comfort in the love of her mother, the little girl realizes that there is no need for her to look for other things, when all that she needs is beside her.
Ultimately, what Mother and I, Walking shows is an unusual bond and the security provided by a mother’s love to young girl’s mind and heart. From the wordings of Crozier, we know that this memory will last and will mold the little girl on what she would become in the future.
Crozier, Lorna. “Mother and I, Walking.” Angels of Flesh, Angels of Silence Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1988.
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