Poems make good vacation souvenirs


Poem and painting
by Mo Conlan

I was working at a daily newspaper -- in the days when that was still pretty much fun, but exhausting. I needed a break and decided to take a home vacation.

I'm not much of a journaler -- though I believe it is a wonderful practice. What I often do, instead of journaling on holiday, is to write vacation poems as mementos. Try it.

On my at-home vacation, I decided to write one poem each day. Below is one of about a dozen vacation poems I wrote. (When you do one a day, some will be better or more finished than others. Both the less finished and the more perfect are valuable.)

From At-home Vacation Poems ~ Poem 5

My head is full of projects–
Flower planting, soup-making,
Organizing kitchen cabinets,
laundry like a black hole
waiting in the basement.
But there are no deadlines,
how much better to lie in bed late,
play on the computer,
dawdle over coffee.
(I’ve read that wild animals laze around
when not hunting for food.)
Finally, I get moving on the laundry,
making the bean soup.
Everything takes longer than I think.
And I grumble–servant to my own grumpy master.
It takes the beans hours
to turn from hard pebbles
into pellets soft enough to eat.
I like the cooking project best;
it pays off in a meal.
I pour hot sauce on top of the beans and rice,
prop my feet up and look out the back window.
The bushes need trimming –
maybe that will go on tomorrow’s list.
One load of wash done; time to put it in the dryer
And another load in the washer.
The wages of getting one project done
are the next ones thumping into me.
I hurry the last few forkfuls of beans.
The sun has come out and the planting
project seems more appealing.
I don’t have enough soil for all the pots of petunias,
So I drive to the nursery for more.

I begin to think that if I could get used to the rhythm,
these at-home days might not be so bad.
Like the days, perhaps, that my grandmother and mother
lived as housewives.
Though I chose a different life,
I feel kinship with their at-home days.
My grandmother – whom I loved with the passion
of a child who has not yet lost anyone to death –
But I did not know her well. Nor did I know my mother;
always chasing after her love –-
she caught up raising seven children,
cooking dinner, ironing school uniform blouses
and planting beds of petunias –
a profusion of pinks and whites lining the walkway
to our front door.

Chores of the day finally done, late at night
driving home from a friend’s, I turn into my driveway
And catch a doe’s soulful brown-eyed gaze
in my headlights. She is standing in my side yard.
I hold her in the beam of light from my car–
until she bounds into the yard next door. I park and follow.
Coming up close, I speak softly – “Hello, pretty girl,
She looks at me – I at her – a long time -
as if we know each other.

Read another at-home vacation poem.

Vacation in France prompts a poem.

After reading Vacation Poems Page, return to home page.