Antiques & Collectibles

Poetry Monday by Laura Gilpin: The Two-Headed Calf

2 headed calf poem

For many decades, poetry has been an incredible way to express feelings and share ideas. Regardless of the subject you choose and the length of the poem, the imagery you create is timeless. The work of Laura Gilpin and many other legendary poets has always fascinated me. Besides the Two-Headed Calf, other incredible pieces of work from Laura include The Bath, Life After Death, and Watching My Mother Sleep.

How she structures her words, conveys thoughts, tells stories, and describes scenes has always been therapeutic to me. The Two-Headed Calf poem is a moving masterpiece by a poet who delivers in every stanza. Have you read the poem? Probably not, and if your answer is yes, it’s a pleasure to explore the world of Laura Gilpin with you in this article.

An Overview of the Two-Headed Calf Poem by Laura Gilpin

I emphasize with many that we should all read poems. Often, many people read and don’t understand the message a poet is trying to convey. Poetry is a fun and impressive way people express their ideas, emotions, and societal criticisms. Poetry will bring joy to your day, surprise you, activate your imagination, and make you a better reader or storyteller. One mind-blowing and famous piece of work is Two-Headed Calf. It’s a thought-provoking Laura Gilpin poem published in 1977.

Laura’s first poetry collection, The Hocus-Pocus of the Universe, features the poem. It’s a two-stanza poem that grasps the attention of readers and invites them to indulge in a world of imagery. Each verse delves into varied themes, including acceptance, identity, fate, joy, love, and peace.

It doesn’t matter how many times you read this poem; it will always give you shivers. Every word in this simple poem holds a deep meaning. Short stanzas contribute to its increased complexity. double headed calf poem

Debunking the Meaning Behind the Two-Headed Calf Poem

In the double-headed calf poem, Laura Gilpin literally makes it clear that the calf doesn’t have a bright future and will perish by the morning. Because of its abnormality, even its carcass is not worthy of preservation. It’s just seen as a creature of myth and can only survive a few hours after birth; even the farm boys won’t stress feeding it.

Well, if you dive into the meaning of the Laura Gilpin poem, you can devise different topics and ideas. Have a look:

Striking Imagery

Imagery is a poetic device that the Two-Headed Calf depicts clearly. The striking image of the two-headed calf will grab your attention. You’ll be awestruck if not well-acquainted with a condition known as Bicephalic Polycephaly.

In many societies, two-headed creatures are depicted as signs of evil or a source of inexplicable events. The poet uses this metaphor by calling the calf a “freak of nature.” It will be wrapped in newspaper and become a monumental attraction in the museum.

This is a symbolic representation of natural uniqueness and differences among creatures. The two heads depict human nature and relations. With a more profound discovery of our diversity, you can imagine the happy moments between the mother and the calf.

Many-Sided Personalities

From the 2 headed calf poem, it’s apparent that such creatures exist and are not a biological peculiarity. It brings out the complicated human nature and identity. For instance, each head mirrors a person’s facet, signifying our personalities’ complexity. Hence, Laura hopes readers will appreciate their uniqueness and the aspects that make them great.laura gilpin poem

Embracing Passage of Time

Deep-rooted in the 2-headed calf poem is the message of embracing the passage of time. Gilpin challenges readers to embrace great moments with resilience and hope. The setting of the poem evokes a sense of brevity, and each character should embrace the short moments they have together.

On the north field, the calf is with his mother, sharing their happiest moments and relishing a summer evening. The pain of losing the calf is acute in the mother’s world, and soon, the feeling of emptiness will materialize.

Thought of Acceptance

The Two-Headed Calf brings out the concept of acceptance and resilience. The poem advocates accepting bad situations that cannot be changed. Despite the calf being two-headed, it shows resilience by watching the skies with his mother, knowing time is passing. On the other hand, the mother knows life is short for the calf and fosters a compassionate mindset to share the great moments.

Every Moment in Life Matters

The other integral meaning of the 2-headed calf poem is you should seize every day and appreciate life. Like many other normal calves, the two-headed calf gets to spend quality time with his mother and stare at the dazzling stars. Reading this poem may evoke sympathy for the dying calf, but it alludes that life is too short to lose hope. Regardless of the things that conform to humanity’s preconceptions or options, it’s worthy to share great moments with loved ones in moments of despair. two headed calf

Final Thoughts

If you are an ardent reader and enthusiastic about poetry, give the Two-Headed Calf a second thought. It’s an inspiring and evocative piece of work by the legendary Laura Gilpin. Through its short verses, the poem shares the story of a two-headed calf and the great moments it shares with its mother in times of despair.

Laura Gilpin brings out the short-lived nature and beauty of living things. Most importantly, by reading the double-headed calf poem, you’ll confront perceptions of personalities and understand the complexities that make life worth living and cherishing. Try to reflect on your own life, how you treat others, and the many things you take for granted.

I'm Liliana Harper, an avid online columnist who's passionate about crafting engaging, informative, and entertaining narratives. Join me on this literary journey where words come alive!