Poem for Critique 010: Helpless by Anna Habryn

Welcome to Morgen’s Online Poetry Writing Group and the tenth poem submitted to this blog for feedback. This piece is by Anna Habryn, author of yesterday’s poem, Migratory Birds.

Please do comment in the section below telling us what you liked about this poem and, what if anything, the author could do to improve upon it. Thank you – it’s very much appreciated!

Anna has said, “any feedback will be appreciated



baby boy 87643You used to fall asleep
Happy and safe
When my palm could cover your face
You’ve grown up
With both hands I cannot embrace
I could only cover your eyes
And I will not do this
My son


© Anna Habryn 2012

Thank you, Anna.

Anna Habryn was born in Poland, graduated at Lodz University (PhD in Media), and then for a few years she worked as a university lecturer. Since 1982 she’s been living in Perth, WA.

Her novel “Love, the Scots’ Way” appeared in instalments in the Polish Gazette in Toronto, in 2003.

Her interest in the life story of P.E.Strzelecki has resulted in writing a film script, a drama and a radio play, and co-producing a book “Ballad of an Explorer or Life and Deeds of Sir Paul Edmund de Strzelecki” (2009). The play on Strzelecki, “Portrait with Women”, was staged by the Theatre Scena 98 in 2010 and showed in Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra.

Dance of LooksShe has published four collections of poems in Polish (“Kartki urodzinowe”, “Strzępy pióropusza”, “Bajeczki o miłości’ and “Machamy rękami na brzegu”) and one collection in English “The Dance of Looks”, highly commended in the Paperback in Your Hand contest, Tasmania 2009.

A member of the Gosnells Writers Circle, her poetry is published in the magazine Showcase (WA) and in the GWC anthologies.


If you’d like to submit your poem (no line limit) for feedback on this blog see Submissions and / for consideration for the weekly Post-weekend Poetry slot on my main blog, take a look here.

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For writers / readers willing to give feedback and / or writers wanting feedback privately, take a look at my main blog’s Feedback page.

My online writing blog / Facebook groups are:

Morgen’s Online Non-Fiction Writing Group

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Morgen’s Online Poetry Writing Group

Morgen’s Online Script Writing Group

Thank you for reading this and we look forward to your comments.

3 responses to “Poem for Critique 010: Helpless by Anna Habryn

  1. Jim Pritchard

    I liked the message delivered in the last two lines about relinquishing the parental need to protect and allowing the child to face the world for what it is. I also liked the initial paradox that the baby felt safest when it was most vulnerable. The image of the palm covering the face as opposed to the child being cradled in one arm was very strong and pervaded the whole poem with a sinister overtone, heightened by the choice of covering the eyes for comparison, rather than holding a hand. I found after subsequent readings that those image choices for portraying size and maturity made me question the back story of the poem and gave it much more depth than any less sinister choices would have. Could it be improved? My one criticism would be to question whether the language and structure were tight enough for such a short piece. For me, the one strong end rhyme on its own stood out as incongruous and interrupted the flow of the poem. I would have preferred a subtler rhyme or none at all, or a longer work with a stronger sense of rhyme. But, it caught my attention, made me re-read it, think about it and ultimately comment on it, so rhyming aside, it succeeded. Thank you.

  2. Thank you, Jim, for such a detailed comment. I’ve forwarded it to Anna.

  3. Wow! Thank you, Jim, for your critique, and understanding. It is such a nice feeling when somebody pays attention, reads and reacts… When it comes to rhymes, I usually weed them out if they appear in the process. This time, I left one thinking it would give the verse some symmetry. Well, I’ll think about it. And yes, you are right: there may be something unintentionally sinister in the possessiveness of motherhood…

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