Pioneer Mother

The sun had barely touched the dreary trees;
Often not yet passed Europe’s lapping shores,
When you awoke, and dressed, and softly stepped
About your work upon the creaky floor.
As we lay dreaming of the coming day,
Your quiet hands made our day come to be;
The breakfast bell chimed our sleep away
And brought the seven of us down to eat.
We barely saw you after breakfast’s end;
Just a glimpse, a smile, the hum of a tune.
When the morning aged, I saw you then,
Between the lines in the heat of the noon.
The others had been off to school those days,
But I was young, too little to be learning.
You made meals quickly, for they couldn’t stay —
I watched them go. . . to follow, I was yearning.
To follow — not them; so I followed your feet;
As best I could I crawled about the floor,
My height did not allow for me to see
But that weary pair. . . so calloused, so worn!
Those reddened soles that paced the wooden planks
For seven souls that must be clothed and fed!
It is you, and those dear feet, I thank
For my good life. The life you always led,
So lusterless to many, I see now
As a sacrifice, that your children could
Have lives of ease. . . which you never were allowed.
It seems that you, after all these years should
Have some taste of what you blessed us with;
But no. . . a slave to memory, resigned,
You choose to serve, as in years past, and live
With your memories, there between the lines.


One Response

  1. This poem was inspired by my great grandmother Pearl. Though she wasn’t a “pioneer” in the truest sense of the word, she did work hard to take care of her seven children. The speaker in the poem is the baby of the family, a boy. The theme I tried to portray was one of gratefulness for the sacrifices a mother makes for her children.

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