Cirencester Scene June 2017

A Mother’s Lament – by Sophie Livingston


When worlds of fragrant washing lie

In crisply ironed piles and I,

frayed and steaming, start to peel

Potatoes for the evening meal

And Clem comes in and tells me she

Can only wear the Jack Wills T.

Which lies neglected on her floor

And throws a strop and slams the door


Then I wonder how it is

That I should be reduced

To this,

So menial self.

Who stole the needle witted girl?

And left behind someone so dull?


When garlic, lemon grass and ginger spill

From board to pan and fill the house

With warming scents,

And I calculate the time I need

To pick up Clem and then to feed

The family, then to drop off Bert

Who must go out, despite the rain,

And Bert says not this crap to eat again.


Then I wonder how it came

That I, who once dreamt of fame

Should shrink, to someone who

Walks the dog

And cleans the loo.


When stripes of newly Hoovered floor

Refresh the house and through the door

Comes Jo, who dumps his briefcase down and

Points out that the lights are on and prices up and can he have a cup

Of coffee, only there’s none left and when do I exactly plan

To do the weekly shop?

And talks of Osteopathy Today and why the children are so rude

And why we have no healthy food.


Then I think


I should

Have left with wilder lovers

Years ago and sailed the seas and pirate-free

Have plundered life and nurtured me

Yet there was once a moment


Lying froze between white sheets

I held my breath dared not disturb

The fragile, newborn universe

Two freshly laundered lives lay on my chest

And hands clutched hands and then I knew

The lark note of pure happiness.


It sings again from time to time

And lifts me free

From this domestic drudgery

And though some things are gone, some things are found

And some things can’t be measured with

Words like success and mostly live

In those eternal seconds when we love.