The Days of My Mother

By alison August 20, 2010 17 Comments 1 Min Read

Today is washday. My Mother
hooks the old tub to faucets
over the slate sink, wrestles cotton sheets
through wringers, hangs them outside
on the sagging clothesline.
Tuesdays she irons, setting up the heavy board with its scorched pad
dampening our blouses and skirts
with a Coke-bottle sprinkler,
testing the iron’s heat with her finger.
We wait for the middle of the week,
when she wears a flour smudged apron
to fill date cookies, stir Kiss pudding
shake warm doughnuts in a bag of sugar
to feed our impatient hunger
Thursdays she claims as her own
translates Latin essays, scours
Readers Digest Condensed books
crafts poems on backs of grocery slips,
weeds her flowers and studies birds.
On Fridays, she cleans for the weekend,
scrubbing the kitchen linoleum on her knees
pushing the tired Electrolux over the carpet,
shaking fresh-smelling sheets onto the beds,
waxing the piano my sisters play.
Most days, my Mother nearly forgets
the life she’d once intended for herself.
Laurel Mills

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17 Comments

  1. Sally Hackney says:

    Thank you Alison. This poem is lovely and familiar. Like somewhere I've been before. Sally

    1. And that is surely a sign of good poetry Sally? Have a lovely Sunday.x

    1. Oh Honey, I'm sorry! But sometimes it is good to have a little weep right…?

  2. Betty G says:

    Alison, it's funny, but I have vivid memories of mymother ironing. And that was quality time with her – talking with her as she ironed. Thanks. for sharing.

    1. You are so welcome Betty. I too remember sitting on the floor watching Mum iron, with the homely scent of steam filling the room and rows of clothes hung from the picture rail…

  3. Betty G says:

    Alison, it's funny, but I have vivid memories of mymother ironing. And that was quality time with her – talking with her as she ironed. Thanks. for sharing.

    1. You are so welcome Betty. I too remember sitting on the floor watching Mum iron, with the homely scent of steam filling the room and rows of clothes hung from the picture rail…

  4. Kellie says:

    Hi Alison,
    This also bought a tear to my eye. The Thursday part sounds good to me! I just finished ironing a few things and my spray bottle broke so I remembered an old Sydney Poiter movie where the wife spends all day ironing with a shaker bottle as did my mum so I thought I should make one out of a water bottle. It did the job and made me smile as I did a little vintage housekeeping ;0)

    1. Oh Kellie, isn't is just bliss when strands from yesterday add up to inspiration for today? I love this little story. Thank you.x

  5. Kellie says:

    Hi Alison,
    This also bought a tear to my eye. The Thursday part sounds good to me! I just finished ironing a few things and my spray bottle broke so I remembered an old Sydney Poiter movie where the wife spends all day ironing with a shaker bottle as did my mum so I thought I should make one out of a water bottle. It did the job and made me smile as I did a little vintage housekeeping ;0)

  6. Gena says:

    How utterly beautiful! Thank you Alison,I too want to make kiss pudding! xx

    1. I found this recipe Gena, if you want to kiss your family today…
      http://www.vintagerecipes.net/books/cookery_blue_
      Happy Sunday!x

  7. Gena says:

    How utterly beautiful! Thank you Alison,I too want to make kiss pudding! xx

  8. That was a wonderful post.

  9. That was a wonderful post.

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