Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Not in Her Nature

[a poem inspired by the Totally Optional Prompt, work.]

Not in Her Nature

It is not in her nature to be still.

As a child she loved to run.
She would run, and run, and run
until her lungs hurt and
only then would she stop.

When she was still a child herself
she was paid to babysit smaller children.
She would go early in the evening,
feed them dinner,
bathe them,
put them to bed.
I think she made a dollar
for the whole night.

When she was twelve
she started working
at the drugstore,
behind the lunch counter
and soda fountain.
She made every kind of
ice cream concoction
with all kinds of flavors
until she got so that
even today
she only likes vanilla
or strawberry.

She got married before she
graduated from high school.
She no longer had to work
at the lunch counter, but
she added the job of
to her duties as student.

She worked for her family
it wouldn't work any more.
Then she worked to make money
to support her two children,
who lived with her mother.

When she married again,
she still had to work,
because the man had given
what he made before
to his ex-wife.

They worked alongside each other
in business,
building a house,
and then another family.
Their children knew
they would be expected to work
one day, and as practice
they had chores to do.

And the woman worked
to make the house clean and beautiful,
to keep the yard healthy and neat,
to teach her children to be responsible,
to help out at the schools,
to help with the scout troops,
to help with the church.

And then,
when the man retired,
partly because he was old,
but more because he was sick,
she worked as his nurse,
because she loved him,
and because
it is not in her nature to be still
and let others "do" for her.

And now that the man is gone,
she works to keep the house clean
and the yard neat, and
her lungs hurt just going up stairs.

But even now,
it is not in her nature to be still.


HL said...

Well said. You did such a nice job of demonstrating the impersonal quality that work takes on but never owns the child who "loved to run." and whose nature has not changed.

Crafty Green Poet said...

how work takes over and doesn't let go. Sad poem

Jo said...

Yes it all continues well from the opening premise. A sad poem, though.

sister AE said...

Thanks, HL. I tried to show how work was a good match for someone who can't sit still.

Hello, CGP - I didn't see the sadness, really, but then since this is about a real person, my own knowledge of the other parts of her probably got in the way of what the words alone convey.

Hi, Jo. Thanks. I, myself, like the way it hangs together.

Chelle said...

What a lovely tribute, even more so since I know the her. ;-)

sophie said...

Beautiful! I think she is more important than the work.

gautami tripathy said...

It reminded me of rural Indian women....

tumblewords said...

I love people who love to run and who keep on going...this piece is nicely toned to show a life that just goes on from start to finish without falter.

paisley said...

my heart is torn between saying what an awesome woman and what a shame... but i guess had she chosen another way,, she would have worked equally as hard at that...

excellent write...

Linda said...

Love the readability of this poem! It captured me right from the get-go! ~Linda

sister AE said...

Thanks, sweetie.

Hi, Sophie. She is certainly larger than the work.

Hello, Gautami. She is from a largely rural background and was a child during the 1930's Depression. I imagine there are similarities.

Thanks, Tumblewords. I was hoping for that.

Paisley, thank you. Being torn is a good reaction to this - definitely elements of courage and a wonder of "what could have been."

Thanks, Linda.

Greggo said...

i read above where you said you didn't see the sadness here, but as i read it, it felt incredibly sad to me. it was beautifully written, and absorbed me right from the start.

sister AE said...

Hi, Greggo, and thank you.

Dale said...

Huh. Didn't strike me as sad at all. Affectionate, rather.

Workers, workers by nature, fascinate me, perhaps because I so much am not one :-)

sister AE said...

Hello, Dale. Like the saying: Work fascinates me - I can stare at it all day.