Hark to my words, those who would hear tales of perseverance!
Set down thy tablets, and refresh thy coffee,
For the sweeping saga of the wise and exhausted mother!
Long days she has endured, yes, and sleepless nights.
Each morn while the sun yet slumbers she arises;
Each animal she tendeth with care: alike the dog and cat and lowly guinea pig.
She girds her children in the armor of their kind:
Shirts emblazoned with warriors bold; spinners of webs and giant green men.
So likewise skirts of pink, with embellishments of sequins bright,
Shall be the vestments of the youngest.
Onto the groaning board she places circles of oats, slices of risen grains;
The generous juices of fruits from distant lands.
And a cry of distress rises in the household,
For the younglings do protest that they will eat none of it.
A chariot of golden orange, bright and welcome as the sun in its height,
Appeareth on the horizon!
Patiently she awaits its approach,
Admonishing each child in turn that they standeth still.
And she repeats the words they will not unstop their ears to hear:
Recounting again that yes, they must indeed each wear their outer tunic,
For it yet remains too cold to do without.
How endless are her tasks, and how dauntless her efforts!
She labors long in scullery and privy.
She removeth dirt from the floor.
Clean linens doth she bring to each chamber.
At length the chariot returneth, and the younglings once again milleth underfoot.
Thence a maelstrom of mayhem commenceth within her walls,
Until at last she crieth in anguish:
“Out! Out! To the gardens fly, I beseech thee —
For though thou hast been once again within my presence but minutes,
Already my crown throbbeth, and the pressure of my humors doth rise!”
She baketh cakes upon the stove — wondrous, flat cakes,
To be drenched in the sweet sap of a stout softwood.
Her brood, thus fortified, take up their quills to tally numbers,
Learn letters by rote, and read such tomes as they will:
Fanciful folios concerned with mounts of rainbow colors,
Hounds that speaketh in the tongue of man,
And a heroic knight who wears naught but underbreeches.
At length the night draws upon her, and lays she down each beloved bairn
Upon fleeces soft, and whispers to each a lullaby.
With weariness besetting, she dresses in her nightclothes,
And takes up her own quill and scroll:
Determined she should tell her tales, that she might share them with the masses,
And thereby amuse and enlighten.
Alas for her, and woe: she writeth naught!
For Morpheus eagerly claims her his own,
Ere she hath penned a dozen words.
May her sleep bring dreams of quiet days: no one clutcheth at her skirt, no one spilleth out his cup, no one practice violence upon his sister, no one sitteth on the cat.
For all too soon, she riseth once again;
To tame all wandering dragons, to fix all manner of wrongs, and to maintain peace within her happy realm.
— Melissa Cassick 2014