Gibley Finds: Poetry

We’ve all seen hard work, in sweat, stress, tears, and success. And we’ve all seen how too much hard work changes a person. The eyes sink with tiredness, the worked hands weaken, the posture worsens, the calluses form. All of this breeds through repetition, elongated periods of time performing the same things over and over. In one way or another, we’ve all experienced the consequences of exertion.

How Time Affects Her, today’s feature, brilliantly explores an alternative way of looking at how hard work can take it’s toll. Reddit user Jamonde kindly let us share this piece; it portrays the weight of parenthood in a way you’ve unlikely seen before: the curls of a mother’s hair have gone.

This transformation is one of decline, and cleverly acts as the physical manifestation of her character. When the curls are lost, they are no longer a loaded, energised spring, they are no longer bouncy, flexible against the world. Instead they are weighed down, drained of strength, translating to the reader how her person is. No doubt this a sad piece; a parent consumed by menial household chores, worked to the bone, who has not the time for anything remotely fun or anything that doesn’t further her work. But this poem is also one of love and labour. Nobody will tell you parenthood is easy, partly because they’re too busy with parenthood to even remark. It’s a lifestyle to adopt and persist with, and that’s what this mother is doing.

There’s no time for these little, nice things, there’s no time for the cosmetic additions, there’s no time for anything. Even the poem itself is short to one stanza, furthering how busy life has become. There’s no time to write on and on about it, because it can be said quickly. ‘The curly hair is too busy… to be curly again’ and that’s that.

A memorable piece, efficient and cleverly crafted, and a great start to the new year. Definitely a poet to keep an eye out for in the future – well done, Jamonde!

How Time Affects Her

Mom’s curly hair is too busy
Washing the dishes
And taking care of the laundry
To be curly again.

We Were Different

Our parents came from soil.
They struck the ground with iron, raked the earth with metal,
Planted carrots, green beans, rhubarb and fennel
And left behind the oil.
Not once did they come home with clear skin.
It was caked in dirt, brown and raw, all to feed their kin.
Even their hoarse voices, that herded cattle and sheep,
Could become butter soft when they soothed
Their children to sleep.
“Rest now to rise up. Rise up and early!
We can still see the stars in the morning.”

We were different. No muck, no mud.
Instead, our hair was combed
And our fingernails were clean and cut.
Big Apple weekends, smoked salmon,
Cream cheese and chives,
In famous expensive restaurants
Where the rich were televised
To our living rooms, to our kitchens.
Our employment history wasn’t in the ground
Nor in the woodwork or land.
It didn’t give us shade,
But only told us
How many cards we punched,
How many nights we slept,
How much money we made.

There’s no sparkle here.
Only in streetlights and neon signs.
Our pewter skies are too exhausted to shine,
They are coughing, clogged and charred
Because our stars wear sunglasses
And are driven down boulevards.

Our parents came from soil.
We came from concrete.


Back for the day to share this piece. It’s been in the poetry oven for quite a while and not sure where to go with it – if anywhere!

Eternal Return

Well, bless the boy who broke the chain!
Escaped the life of picking grain
Erased the old and putrid stain
Of not living his life.

He drove himself, persisted through
And flew over the oceans blue
Fulfilled the need to start anew
And found himself a wife.

They’ll buy a farm with cows to breed,
Dig up the earth and plant the seeds,
And work until their fingers bleed
To build and grow.

“Now when my son is ripe of age
Controls his life with adult gauge
And asks to leave, to turn a page,
I’ll let him go.”