Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Woman's History



Five times
she survived
sweating,
screaming
childbirth
at home without a doctor.

She buried two babies.

When harvest crews took the fields
she spent the heat of her days
cooking meals
for fifty or better.

She ate last and cleared the plates alone.

And, every Sunday
she attended church
wearing her finest hat.
Whether she prayed 
or demanded an explanation,
nobody knows.

For Ella's prompt at Real Toads.  The picture is not mine; it ended up with my watermark when I cropped it, and I'm too lazy to figure out how to get it off.

25 comments:

Fireblossom said...

Those stand-alone lines are tough, and tell a lot. As for what she did at church, maybe it was some of both. I wonder if she got any answers.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

I LOVE this story!!!!!!!! It says it all, and perfectly. The physical labor those women put in is unbelievable. And she likely did laundry in a tub of hot water heated on the stove, too. MUDDY laundry. AND baked bread every day!............yoiks!

Tara R. said...

Best ending line ever... I would be demanding an explanation too.

Sylvia K said...

You never fail to amaze me! "nobody knows", the very best!!

Sioux said...

Mama Zen--You really captured a woman during that era(or seemed to, since I wasn't alive then, although my wrinkles might beg to differ).

I am extremely glad I was born when I was. Being a woman then was even more difficult than it is now.

daydreamerdreams said...

Great take on the prompt! I love the first stanza!

Brian Miller said...

ahe sounds like a strong woman...and sometimes i ask a bit of both...smiles.

Far Beyond The Ridge said...

Ya know, this is more brilliant than you know. The dialogue is perfect, the question~just.
Rick

Far Beyond The Ridge said...

Just as well, poets make horseshit rock stars.
Rick

kaykuala said...

The unsung souls who toiled and 'gave' without expecting anything in return. None of them these days, may be a rare few.

Hank

happygirl said...

This sounds like it could have been my grandmother. Great writing. I'm going to be thinking of my grandma a lot today because of this piece.

Ella said...

I enjoyed this take on the prompt!
So true,those days were so tough!
I can't imagine~
Well Done Mama Zen! :D

Kerry O'Connor said...

Your words here make me feel really grateful for what I have, and kind of guilty for the pettiness of my daily complaints.

Buddah Moskowitz said...

The poem style I most covet: elegant and self-assured. This was perfect. Thanks. (Loved the watermark confession.)

Margaret said...

I knew it would have a zing at the end...and I wasn't disappointed.

turtlememoir said...

Brilliant, MZ, the way you wave your word wand & presto! this woman becomes flesh...

Carol Steel 5050 said...

This is utterly lovely in its accuracy of what life was like for women of my grandmother's and great-grandmother's times. They were tough women and had to live with amazing hardships. I remember my Grammy telling me about getting into bed at night exhausted and realizing that she was hungry and hadn't had time to stop to eat herself that day. This is beautiful...great write.

flipside records said...

"She ate last and cleared the plates alone."

"Whether she prayed
or demanded an explanation,
nobody knows."

Sounds familiar.

Kay L. Davies said...

I love the last three lines, what Margaret calls the "zing at the end" — you are a fine poet, MZ.
K

Peggy said...

I like the way you did this with the story and the stand-alone lines. The lives of so many were like this--and I do love that hat!

zongrik said...

and we think we have it rough today

4 child with book senryu

Lydia said...

An apt description of Everywoman in a certain time in history (and some even today).

Helen said...

This is wonderful ........

Far Beyond The Ridge said...

I'm smilin a just right smile~you know the kind. Damn your stuff is fun to read, mama!
I think we all had a june like that. I sure did. Maybe even two. Now even the memories are elusive. And monday mornings, without the mercy of even an oak tree.
Thank you
Rick

myheartslovesongs said...

oh, i LOVE the ending!