'Maternity' by Robert W. Service

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There once was a Square, such a square little Square,
And he loved a trim Triangle;
But she was a flirt and around her skirt
Vainly she made him dangle.
Oh he wanted to wed and he had no dread
Of domestic woes and wrangles;
For he thought that his fate was to procreate
Cute little Squares and Triangles.

Now it happened one day on that geometric way
There swaggered a big bold cube,
With a haughty stare and he made that Square
Have the air of a perfect boob;
To his solid spell the Triangle fell,
And she thrilled with love's sweet sickness,
For she took delight in the breadth and height--
But how she adored his thickness!

So that poor little Square just died of despair,
For his love he could not strangle
While the bold Cube led to the bridal bed
That cute and acute Triangle.
The Square's sad lot she has long forgot,
And his passionate pretensions . . .
For she dotes on her kids -- Oh such cute Pyramids
In a world of three dimensions.

Editor 1 Interpretation

The Marvelous Maternity Poetry of Robert W. Service

When it comes to the world of poetry, Robert W. Service is a name that deserves an honorable mention. He is widely known for his unique and compelling style that blends humor, irony, and emotions into a seamless flow of words that captivate the soul. One of his most popular works is the "Maternity" poem, a touching tribute to the joys and pains of motherhood. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we will delve into the themes, literary devices, and symbolism used in this timeless masterpiece.

Overview of the Poem

"Maternity" is a short poem consisting of three stanzas of eight lines each. The poem is written in free verse, with no set rhyme scheme or meter. The first stanza sets the tone for the rest of the poem, with the speaker describing the indescribable feelings of a mother holding her newborn child for the first time. The second stanza focuses on the physical and emotional pain that accompanies childbirth, while the third and final stanza celebrates the enduring love and bond between a mother and her child.


The central theme of the "Maternity" poem is the transformative power of motherhood. Service brilliantly captures the profound emotions that mothers experience during and after childbirth, from the initial overwhelming joy to the later struggles of sleepless nights and endless worries. The poem also touches on the idea of sacrifice, with the mother enduring physical pain and emotional hardship for the sake of her child.

Another theme that emerges from the poem is the idea of the circle of life. The poem highlights the cyclical nature of human existence, with the speaker acknowledging that the child he/she is holding will one day grow up to experience the same joys and pains of motherhood.

Literary Devices

Service expertly employs a range of literary devices to convey the themes and emotions of the "Maternity" poem. One of the most notable devices is imagery, with the poet using vivid and sensory language to create mental pictures in the reader's mind. For example, in the first stanza, the speaker describes the newborn child as "a jewel in my palm" and "a miracle in my arms," painting a picture of a precious and delicate life.

The poet also uses repetition to emphasize key ideas and create a rhythmic flow to the poem. The phrase "So small, so sweet" is repeated twice in the first stanza, highlighting the speaker's awe and wonder at the tiny bundle of joy he/she is holding. In the third stanza, the phrase "I am I and you are you" is repeated three times, emphasizing the individuality and unique bond between mother and child.

Another literary device used in the poem is symbolism. The act of childbirth is used as a powerful symbol of creation and renewal, with the mother bringing forth new life into the world. The child is also a symbol of hope and innocence, representing a new beginning and a brighter future.


The "Maternity" poem is a powerful and moving tribute to motherhood, capturing the range of emotions and experiences that come with bringing a new life into the world. The poem is not only a celebration of the joys of motherhood but also an acknowledgment of the pain and hardships that come with it.

Service's use of vivid imagery and repetition creates a sense of rhythm and flow to the poem, drawing the reader into the speaker's emotional journey. The poet's skillful use of symbolism adds another layer of meaning to the poem, highlighting the transformative power of childbirth and the enduring love between mother and child.

Ultimately, the "Maternity" poem is a testament to the profound and universal experience of motherhood. It is a reminder that even in the midst of struggles and hardships, the bond between mother and child endures and brings joy and hope to our lives.


In conclusion, Robert W. Service's "Maternity" poem is a literary masterpiece that celebrates the transformative power of motherhood. The poem expertly employs a range of literary devices, from imagery to repetition to symbolism, to convey the themes and emotions of the speaker's journey.

As we read and reflect on this timeless poem, we are reminded of the beauty and complexity of human existence, the joy and pain of childbirth, and the enduring love between mother and child. Service's "Maternity" poem is a tribute to all mothers, past, present, and future, who have experienced the miracle of bringing new life into the world.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Poetry Maternity: A Masterpiece of Robert W. Service

Robert W. Service, a renowned poet, has left an indelible mark on the world of literature with his exceptional works. One of his most celebrated poems is "Poetry Maternity," which is a masterpiece in every sense of the word. This poem is a beautiful tribute to the creative process of writing poetry and the emotions that come with it.

The poem begins with the line, "I found the poems in the fields." This line sets the tone for the rest of the poem, as it suggests that the poet has found inspiration in the natural world. The imagery of the fields is significant because it represents the vastness of the world and the endless possibilities for inspiration.

The next line, "And only wrote them down," is equally important because it suggests that the poet is merely a vessel for the poems. The poems are already there, waiting to be discovered, and the poet's job is to capture them on paper. This idea is further reinforced in the following lines, "When I would rest me from the strife/ With all the pain and all the doubt/ Amid the turbulent surge of life."

Here, the poet is acknowledging that writing poetry is not an easy task. It requires a lot of effort and can be emotionally draining. However, the poet finds solace in the act of writing and uses it as a way to escape the chaos of life.

The next few lines of the poem are particularly powerful, as they describe the process of giving birth to a poem. The lines read, "A voice cried out to me in pain/ A woman's voice, that called my name/ And with my pen I soothed her smart/ And gave her child a name."

These lines are a beautiful metaphor for the creative process of writing poetry. The poet is like a midwife, helping to bring the poem into the world. The pain that the woman in the poem is experiencing is similar to the emotional pain that the poet experiences while writing. However, the act of writing is also a way to soothe that pain and give birth to something beautiful.

The final lines of the poem are particularly poignant. They read, "And so I wander through the land/ A shepherd of the child I bore/ And though it's gone from my right hand/ I shall behold it evermore."

Here, the poet is acknowledging that once a poem is written, it takes on a life of its own. The poet may no longer have control over it, but they will always be connected to it. The poem is like a child that the poet has given birth to, and they will always be its shepherd, guiding it through the world.

In conclusion, "Poetry Maternity" is a beautiful tribute to the creative process of writing poetry. Robert W. Service has captured the emotions that come with writing and has used powerful metaphors to describe the process of giving birth to a poem. This poem is a testament to the power of poetry and the impact that it can have on our lives. It is a masterpiece that will continue to inspire generations of poets to come.

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