The title poem refers to the poet's apprehension of his work. He sees his lean, freely limned, discursive and generally opaque verse as a private enterprise between that part of himself which is the poet and that public person who waits to read the reviews (like a mother, facing her children's debut). The offspring are ugly, prostitutes, politics, surrealism, and difficult love. And they also lack grace. They trip when they walk and when they talk they--much to a poet's shame--stutter; they do not sing. Here and there as in ""My South,"" a long invocation to his ancestors and explication of a sensitive Southerner's dilemma, there are redeeming virtues. But on the whole one discovers nothing of value behind the discursive mask. Only a mother.