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
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
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.