Saturday, May 12, 2007

"Mother's Poem"

"Mother's Poem"
A sympathetic word from Garrison Keillor, of A Prairie Home Companion:

Some mornings I get up at five.
With four to mother, one to wive,
I find the hours from light to dark
are not enough to matriarch
with goals for matriarchy high
among the apples of my eye.

This little girl with golden braid
expects her toast a certain shade;
her scrambled eggs must meet the test
of excellence—and gently rest
upon the toast and not beside.

The little boy wants his eggs fried
yet not too greasy on his lips,
accompanied by bacon strips
fried till thy resemble bark.

The older boy takes his toast dark,
and if his golden eggs should not
be poached and served steaming hot,
(two slightly liquid, yellow bumps
of yolk in solid white), he slumps
down in his chair and has a mood.

The oldest girl eats rabbit food,
berries, nuts, sunflower seeds,
leaves and stem, and as she feeds,
she is displeased. It’s all my fault.
I bought her seeds containing salt!
And worse—
some juice containing sugar.

She glares as if I were a crook or,
worse, a mother short of sense
and guilty of child negligence.

Negligence in the name of love
is just what we should have more of.

Don’t mother birds after some weeks
of looking at those upturned beaks,
deliberately the food delay,
hoping to hear their goslings say,
"What are these feathered, floppy things
attached to us?
You think they’re wings?"

This helpful trusty friendly Frau
is starting her neglect right now.

The clothes you counted on to leap
up while you were fast asleep
and wash themselves for you to wear
have let you down. They just sat there.

The bicycle you thought would pick
itself up when the rain got thick,
the homework you forgot to do,
assuming I would tell you to —
my child, you have been betrayed.

The world you thought
was neatly made,
its corners tucked in like a sheet,
is uncomposed and incomplete.

For years I carried on a hoax.
I made you think that scrambled yolks
or poached or boiled, fried or shirred,
are how they come out of the bird.

No matter what you have been told,
the rainbow holds no pot of gold,
babies aren’t found under rocks
or in Sears Roebuck catalogues…
the moon is not made of green cheese,
and eggs don’t come
the way you please,
served by hens on silver trays,
and neither does much else these days.

1 comment:

Sue said...

Thanks. I love this.