Monday, May 21, 2007

"I Stand Here Ironing," a poem (Adam Shurnitski)

(Note: In Jennifer Semple Siegel's Introduction to Literature class, students are offered the option of rewriting a story, poem, or play in another genre. Adam Shurnitski chose to rewrite Tillie Olsen's short story "I Stand here Ironing" as a poem. This writer has captured the female point of view--not always an easy shift for a writer of the opposite gender.)


The iron, heavy, I drag
Back and forth, back and forth.
The most wonderful gift, but
Timing is everything.

Two years, quickly pass,
She is a stranger to me,
But I have little time to notice.

She is my perfect child, oh,
To love her properly all over again!
She is alone, in the dark, scared.
I assure her that it will all be fine,
And as perfect as she is, never complains.

What price must I pay to win the love,
Of my so distant, sweet Emily.
Nothing I have done justifies,
My poor upbringing.

As I stand here ironing,
It hurts my soul, to drag,
Back and forth, the destructive
Iron. The iron which crushes my
Sweet child.

I was never there,
To ease her pain and sorrows.
I never saw her life escaping,
My loving touch. I merely saw
Myself, ironing, dragging slowly across
A wooden board.
She deserves more.


LIT160 Introduction to Literature, Spring 2007

Published with permission.

No comments: