Zachary Welsh’s Thoughts on “Symptoms” by Laurie Clements Lambeth

With her poem “Symptoms,” Lambeth not only discusses the hardships that are associated with ancient women’s clothing, but also connects said hardships to the topic of disability. Lambeth clearly states his distain for ancient women’s fashion when she states that rather than having hooks and laces, it only has “spaces of remission, then relapse,” and when she discusses how the clothing can “rub and pull naked skin, saying, ‘now and then you must try to feel through this, and this‘.” She discusses how all of the fabric that she is forced to wear oftentimes leads to her leaning on a wall for support. Lambeth then connects her poem to the topic of disability when she states that all of the clothes she must wear often leads to her sporting a cane and when she says “Fix my mouth in a loose pout when speech eludes its muscles, tired, stiff as the garments that hold me.” With these quotes, Lambeth is providing her stance on ancient woman’s clothing and how it relates to and can even cause physical disabilities. On top of this, Lambeth also provides commentary on how other people view these disabilities in the fact that’s she says “The cure is rest, they tell me.”

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