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July 28, 2021

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I feel the need to comment on my own poem: No terrible judgement intended, all mothers bungle it in some way...

I don't think one needs to apologize for "Breathless bungling mother," although it is hard to lay at her feet the fate of her son, who was, after all, the man of his time most likely to succeed.

I liked Jacky Kennedy ...
She was a social-special true First Lady...
With style with beauty ...
But I did not understand this poem ...
I don't enjoy vague poems ...
Being pediatrician,
I like to explain to my patients everything clearly
Most people don't like poetry ...
I never blame them ...

Sylva Portoian, MD
Sylva Portoian-Shuhaiber,MD,MSc,MFPHM, FRCP.CH (UK)
(Pediatrician & Poet)
Winner of The Carnegie Poetry Prize, Spring 2009
Twenty Historical Poetry Books in three languages globally
and 10 medical articles in international journals including 'The Lancet’.

Why was such a name was given to Jackie
"Breathless Bungling Mother"
Iam shocked...
Then how you will describe Melania Trump???
I'm keen to know...!!!
Sylva Portoian, MD

This is one of my favorite poems so far by a poet I very much admire. Maybe we should focus on the sounds and rhythms in "Fabulous beast rumored to have roamed the dunes". This is a poem about a generation, or generations, as much as one about a particular historical figure, and in any event, not a hagiography. The U.S., and the planet, are finally entering a painful, necessary, process of therapeutic self-analysis, and with that goes the discarding of hagiography. Jackie was amazing, especially her journalism and her desire for an intellectual life, but she was also wrapped up in a world of deception and illusion. So, if she bungled something here and there, who can blame her? The poem is not commenting so much on her as a mother to her two children but as "mother to a network generation." In that role, she may have led us somewhat astray, but she's far from the only one.

I hate to make this into a mutual-admiration-society kind of thing, but Vincent's comments mean a lot to me. How wonderful to be understood by an esteemed colleague. How terrible is the opposite...
On "vagueness": In the context of my book and its central series of verbal portraits about individuals on the Outer Cape (of Cape Cod), maybe it's a little clearer the cultural role this splendid individual fills. I don't doubt she was a factor in the creation of the National Seashore, for one thing.
She really was rumored to have visited Provincetown after Jack Kennedy's death (alone, and incognito, in her shades). She loved poetry, and passed on that love to her daughter, of course.

That Jackie "passed on [her] love [of poetry] to her daughter" is indisputable. I am proud to have a poem in Caroline Kennedy's anthology, "She Walks in Beauty" (2011) and even happier that she inscribed my copy "with admiration and gratitude." In her introduction, Caroline tosses off something very profound whe she remarks that she "never thought that growing old would be something I would do."

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