Friday, May 30, 2014

Poetry Friday: Cleaning Up

My son remarked the other day, "You know what I hate about the beginning of summer?  Mom always wants everything to be clean."

It's true.  After nine months of constant focus on school, suddenly all my grading is done and I look around my house and see it a little more clearly.  Of course, there's all the cleaning to be done in my classroom, too.  And the metaphorical cleaning up as I reflect on the past year and all the messes I made, and wonder how I can do better next year.

I found this poem that expresses a bit of what I feel about the clutter taking over, and also the questioning about what stays and what goes, literally and figuratively.

Mother's Closet
by Maxine Scates

This is everything she ever closed a door
on, the broom closet of childhood
where no one could ever find a broom.
Here, layer upon layer, nothing breathes:
photo albums curl at the edges, books
she brought home from the library
where she worked, handled by thousands
of other hands before their final exile
where they’ve waited, paper and more paper
taking in the ocean air, about to sprout. 
You can read the rest of it, and listen to it, here.
You can find today's roundup here.  


Diane Mayr said...

Ruth, when the cleaning genes were handed out, I was missing that day. I definitely see myself in the poem--I even work in a library.

Linda B said...

A teacher came to me today, and asked if I wanted any of the books with my name that he took when he took my place in the classroom. It was nice of him to ask, but no, I gave away much then, and do not want them back. But I connected immediately with your words, Ruth, knowing that teachers do clean out at school & at home want to catch up with that which they have put off all year. Don't you love that final line of the poem, "I’m lying. I’ve kept everything she’s ever given me." Hard to give some things up! Happy cleaning!

Tricia said...

I know how you feel at the end of the year. Though I have loads of work to do, now that the year is over, I have spent the week cleaning and rearranging my office. Now that it's done, the house is next!

Thanks for sharing this poem.

Mary Lee said...

HA! You totally hit a nerve with this post! So. Very. True. I reclaimed my home a bit last weekend when I should have been working on report cards. It's like I needed to remind myself that THIS is where I really live, not room 228 at DWE!!

Tara said...

Love the sweet sadness and truth of this - what we want to hang on to, and what we simply can never give away.