Families, Children & Marriage, Miscellany, Women

Back to work…

and so it is that the slow summer days have come to an end, when we all return to the much faster pace of the school year. my summer was full and rich – swimming pools, lazy days, lots of books, long conversations and short to-do lists.

Returning to school involves a whole different energy level. Though I do get tired, I find that the emotional energy it takes to shift back into our respective worlds is the heaviest.  Kate Daniels sums up my conflicted feelings about the whole transition in her poem below – loving work, quietness, contemplation, yet pulled by those precious little ones toward a much noisier existence.

In My Office at Bennington
Mornings, I sit by the open window
in the red barn, reading poems
and quietly thinking.  Coffee idles
in a cracked blue mug, and bees burst
in and out of the unscreened window.  At last, a poem seems possible
again – brain knitting a scarf
of thought, purling it into words.
Metaphors emerge after long seclusion –
a green crocus, crusted with dirt, thrusts
through the rotten fabric of an ailing lawn
late in February.  The season is almost
over, or it’s not, in fact, begun. 
But then I hear the voices of my children
returning from a meal, hiking up the hill
from camp.  Or the plastic wheels of Janey’s
carriage clattering in gravel.
The cheerful firstborn’s off-key whistle,
airy through the gap in new front teeth
and I’m paper torn in half,
the poem that didn’t work,
the wrong words, sour sounds,
ruptured rhythms, the confusion
as to what was meant, what I actually
desired besides those three small faces
raised to my open window, calling
my name over and over, Mama?


Daniels, K. (2001).  In my office at Bennington.  In M. K. DeShazer (Ed.), The Longman anthology of women’s literature (pp. 872-873). New York: Longman.


2 thoughts on “Back to work…”

  1. I have been following your blog for a few weeks now, but only came across this posting tonight (unable to sleep, yet unable to write, I’ve been reading instead). I completely understand that ambiguity, that sense of being torn between self and creativity and work on the one hand, and self-lessness and the messy glory of life and kids on the other. I hope your move to California goes well!


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