Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Woman Enough

Because my grandmother's hours
were apple cakes baking,
& dust motes gathering,
& linens yellowing
& seams and hems
inevitably unraveling
I almost never keep house
though really I like houses
& wish I had a clean one.

Because my mother's minutes
were sucked into the roar
of the vacuum cleaner,
because she waltzed with the washer-dryer
& tore her hair waiting for repairmen
I send out my laundry,
& live in a dusty house,
though really I like clean houses
as well as anyone.

I am woman enough
to love the kneading of bread
as much as the feel
of typewriter keys
under my fingers
springy, springy.
& the smell of clean laundry
& simmering soup
are almost as dear to me
as the smell of paper and ink.

I wish there were not a choice;
I wish I could be two women.
I wish the days could be longer.
But they are short.
So I write while
the dust piles up.

I sit at my typewriter
remembering my grandmother
& all my mothers,
& the minutes they lost
loving houses better than themselves
& the man I love cleans up the kitchen
grumbling only a little
because he knows
that after all these centuries
it is easier for him
than for me.

Erica Jong

5 comments:

Peter said...

[I posted this comment over at V-grrrl, who also seemed to have a 'time issue' ;-)

You know, I'm a single male, I have no children, no countless rooms to take care of and I prefer entertaining guests outside of this (way too small) riverside apartment.

But still I found myself "running out of time"

Guess the problem must be universal: no matter how little/much we 'have' to do, running out of time is just a part of our 'overloaded' lives.

There is a rather drastic way to handle this issue: cut the dead weight.

Less cleaning, less social engagements that basically have become a burden, less of every time consuming "must do" that can be avoided.

I know, easy to say when you're single :-)

V-Grrrl said...

My favorite line today:

"Loving houses better than themselves"

womanwandering said...

I know what you mean Peter, I remember my single life in Istanbul and I did cut that dead wood ... here I seem to be building a large construction, playing multiple roles that sometimes threaten to overwhelm.

Today was a meltdown but I'm riding the wave again, sending photographs to the Italians and cooking roast New Zealand, delivering the photographs to PINA, finding a graphics card with my daughter, cleaning the house and posting superb poems by Erica Jong :)

I love that line too v-grrrl.

Antipodeesse said...

I have always loved Erica Jong's novels and this poem really speaks to me as well.

womanwandering said...

All the best people love that poem Antipodeesse :) It says it all.