Child of the Sun--Gabriel's Birth (Sun Prayer)

Baca, Jimmy Santiago

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack
  • Date of entry: Jul-05-2001


This passionate poem celebrates the home birth of the writer's son Gabriel. Baca describes the scene in sensuously rolling lines and robust language--Beatrice in the tub, Beatrice with her leg propped on the toilet, pushing, pushing: "Through vines of hair I peer, / between her spread legs, where blinding light / streams through." Gabriel appears! "Gabriel slips from her trembling loins, / filmy with juice, / thick rivulets of blood / run down our hands, arms, waists . . . " [79 lines]


Baca's brand of poetry is lyrical yet expansive, completely personal yet socially engaged, self-affirming yet generous. His lines are musical, meant to be savored in the mouth and on the ear. The syllables roll out with relish and abandon, but this lack of control is only apparent and conceals their underlying discipline.

Black Mesa Poems, the collection in which this poem appears (see this database), is a powerful statement of Baca's identity--a young Hispanic man from an impoverished family in rural New Mexico--yet in many respects it closely resembles the poetry of that great American writer of Dutch-English extraction, Walt Whitman. Black Mesa Poems is Jimmy Santiago Baca's Leaves of Grass and "Song of Myself." See also the more recent collection, Set This Book on Fire! (Cedar Hill Publications, Mena, Arkansas, 1999).

Primary Source

Black Mesa Poems


New Directions

Place Published

New York