Rachel Loden

Heather Langnas
21 February 2011
Malignant Shape Mother
At first glance Rachel Loden’s Locked Ward: Newtown, Connecticut is not a poem that is easily interpreted. The mystery of this poem is what causes it to be so intriguing to the reader. Contrary to most poems in which the poem is better understood after reading the title, Locked Ward: Newtown is unique in that the reader may grasp the meaning of the title only after understanding the poem.   Loden depicts the relationship between a daughter and her mother whom suffers a mental illness. Through metaphors, repetition, line breaks and a free verse form the reader is able to feel the exact emotions the speaker experiences as she visits her mother.
The poem begins with the daughter being led to her mother by an employee described as tight-lipped. The tone is already set from the first line and the reader feels the awkwardness as the speaker begins her visitation. A simile is used to describe the walk to her mother in line two when she states, “I trail her like a moon”. The daughter follows the employee with out distraction and does not part from her side. She is nervous as she pays close attention to unimportant objects like the jailer’s shoe padding. She stays staring as the doors become unlocked; her focus is not broken as they open one by one. The way this is written causes the reader to feel as if they are frozen in time, which is familiar to the emotions of the speaker.
The same thought is continued into the next line with out taking a breath as the meeting of the daughter and mother take place. The first letter of the next line is not capitalized to show it is an extension of the last sentence. The way the next few lines are written are very significant because she is speaking directly to her mother whom she describes as a “whipped child, eyes down”. This is the first window into the relationship between the two, and the hurt the daughter experiences concerning her mother’s...