I am the one
who puts oatmeal on the list
so that we will not have a morning
I am the one who cooks it
stirring its volcano bubbles
from gruel to a thick
I am the one who dishes it
into bowls — large, medium, small
then calls the family
to the table.
I am the one who shows baby
how to cool it by blowing on his spoon
and the one who gives him a sip of milk
when he wails, “It’s still too hot!”
I am the one who interrupts his crying,
“Let’s go for a walk,”
the one who distracts his hungry whining
with dandelion greens and wild strawberries.
I am the one who says,
“You’re probably right,”
when Papa grumbles, “Surely the porridge
is cool by now.”
I am the one who sees wet footprints
on the front porch
into the house.
I am the one who notices
bowls have been moved
one empty, chairs shuffled
I am the one to follow the footprints
up the stairs past two rumpled beds
and see in the third
I am the one scandalized
with Mrs. Locks. What kind of mother
allows her kid
that much freedom?
And I am the one tempted
to tie Baby Bear
down with my apron
when, after Goldie has jumped
out the window
and run away,
he begs, “Can I look for her?
I want to play.”
© 2007 by Violet Nesdoly
11 thoughts on “Mother Bear”
Hi Violet, I admire how you can write in response to a prompt. You bring the story alive in a new way. And Ken’s furniture is wonderful–great photo with your poem.
Thanks Ellen! I guess I like writing from prompts because the outcome is usually a surprise. Plus prompts take me in directions I would never think to go on my own.
I love different perspective pieces. This is great. I’m glad you reposted this…didn’t see it before.
Wonderful, wonderful. So clever! I am slightly partial to bear poems. Ken’s furniture is so cool. Of course instead of branches, I’m thinking the chairs are made with giant pretzel sticks. . .
Oh Jama, your ability to turn our attention to food is legendary! Pretzels? I love it! (And they do look amazingly like pretzels.) 🙂
Wonderful to read Violet. There is more than one new telling of “The Three Bears” and this is so clever. I think it would be delightful to use with students for their own retelling. I love your fresh ending, and your brother’s wonderful, whimsical table and chairs-just right for your poem too!
So glad you reposted this, Violet – what a wonderful poem, and I nodded the whole way through.
“stirring its volcano bubbles
from gruel to a thick
predictable pudding.” – from volcano bubbles to predictable pudding! Brilliant. )And what mothers do each and every day.) :0)
Thanks so much Linda and Robyn! Perhaps one of the reasons this resonates with us women is because we’re moms.
Linda, I agree about my bro’s furniture. He is an incorrigible collector of old wood bits and forever thinks of creative ways to re-purpose it.
Oh Violet, I love this poem. I have a special weakness when it comes to fractured retellings of tales – be it in prose or in verse. I moderated a similar panel for the Singapore Writers Festival last week as we had a fairytale theme, and one of the speakers noted the importance of finding spaces or gaps in beloved tales and filling it with your own versions and ruminations. You have done just that here, Violet. Lovely!
Why thank you, Myra! I would love to have been at your panel. What a fun theme. You are indeed a lady of many talents. 🙂