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ARTIST : employee of  Albany Medical Center (Albany, NY)
ARTWORK : sonogram print (1993)
EXHIBITION : poet’s personal copy, framed at home
NOTE : This poem was inspired by Francine Sterle’s poem “Framed Sonogram” on page 71-72 of her book Nude in Winter (Tupelo, 2006). This poem benefited from the feedback of two local critique groups.
Upon First Seeing Your Sonogram
(My Name Misspelled in the Margin)
Here at last I can clearly see
your head rimmed by a glorious flash,
your ear and eye and small curtsy
of chin to chest so honestly set
in black & white. O unborn girl
whom long ago I began to call
Elizabeth Verity (for a Tudor, for Truth),
just as you grow from anointed infant
to flawless princess, I shall become
the adoring one who each hour
seeks out your newest favors~~a smile,
a steady gaze, a finger’s touch~~
so grateful for your fond corrections:
those proper Mama‘s you’ll place upon me.
by Therese L. Broderick

About ThereseLBroderick

Independent community poet living in Albany, New York USA.

One response »


    My goal when composing any poem is to craft a passage of spoken language in which sound is at least as alluring as sense.


    This poem is a modified Shakespearean sonnet, a little song for a sonogram. Almost every line of the poem has four relatively strong beats. I do not follow a strict rhyme scheme; nonetheless, I embed plenty of vowel or other echoes. Examples of echoes are : “see” and “curtsy” ; “rimmed” and “chin” ; “infant” and “princess” ; “each hour” and “seeks out” ; “fond” and “proper” and “upon.”


    One reason I use a modified version of the Shakespearean sonnet is that it relates historically to the Elizabethan Tudors. As the poem states, my daughter was named for Queen Elizabeth (also for my own mother). The head rimmed by a flash evokes a glittering crown. I use the word “curtsy” because it evokes the honor paid to a queen. I use the word “fond” because it sounds courtly. I use the word “proper” because it relates both to the correction of my misspelled name, and also to the proper titles that a queen places upon her servants.


    All details of this poem are autobiographically factual except for the fiction that I wrote the poem soon after I saw the sonogram for the first time. Actually, I wrote the poem almost sixteen years afterwards.


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