Notes from the Delivery Room

Pastan, Linda

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry
Secondary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Annotated by:
Squier, Harriet
  • Date of entry: May-15-2002


Notes from the Delivery Room is a short poem that presents a series of metaphors commonly used to describe childbirth. It is a crisis, like the woman in a comic book tied to the railroad tracks; hard labor with physician as foreman; a harvest, like pulling potatoes from the earth; a magical event, like pulling a rabbit from a hat.

Throughout the poem, the reader feels the tension between these images, and the reality of bright lights, restraints, pain, and medical staff as they impinge upon an intensely personal experience. Finally the speaker abandons her metaphorical language and becomes simply herself, greeting her barefoot child. She and her child are finally human beings unencumbered by symbolism, not representing anything but themselves.


Also available in: Carnival Evening (New York: W. W. Norton, 1998)

Primary Source

PM/AM: New and Selected Poems


W. W. Norton

Place Published

New York



Secondary Source

PM/AM: New and Selected Poems