After the dishes are done
and the leftovers rest
orderly, cooling
on a table cleared of crumbs,

after the floor is swept
and the children tucked away
and each odd thing
returned to where it’s kept ,

when I am at ease,
will be the time
for doing as I please.

Untouched, my cup
of tea grows cold.
I am too busy for it.
Later I will warm it up

when I have time for thirst
then I will think
of my own drink.  But
ledgers must come first

and laundry sacks
of other people’s dirt.
So many things require
me, my hands, my back.

It is my place
to serve.  It is my crown.
So to all otherness I turn
a pleasant face

and drown the sun
in dishwater, dreaming
a different place
into the present one—-

dreaming a time of true…
and good, and beautiful and
later, later, when
there’s nothing else to do.

4 responses »

  1. This poem reminds me of another zen-like poem I love by Jane Kenyon:

    Let Evening Come
    Let the light of late afternoon
    shine through chinks in the barn, moving
    up the bales as the sun moves down.

    Let the cricket take up chafing
    as a woman takes up her needles
    and her yarn. Let evening come.

    Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned
    in long grass. Let the stars appear
    and the moon disclose her silver horn.

    Let the fox go back to its sandy den.
    Let the wind die down. Let the shed
    go black inside. Let evening come.

    To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop
    in the oats, to air in the lung
    let evening come.

    Let it come, as it will, and don’t
    be afraid. God does not leave us
    comfortless, so let evening come.

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