She lived her hard life like a metaphor,
this suffering woman, who made no lists,
and never questioned
which may be the supreme sacrifice
amidst so many stolen freedoms.
Sliding from brief sleeptime at dawn,
she’d rush to complete each arduous and loving chore
of housekeeper, mother and wife, before leaving for work,
nimbly cycling; riding with her head held high,
strong legs taking the long, uphill climb in her stride,
and upon arrival, cooking, serving, feeding dusty factory folk,
washing the dishes, then preparing lunch for one o’clock.
So many hungry men,
so many greasy plates to clean and put away.
A simple sandwich and two cups of tea
seemed to be her main means of survival and revival.
She was cunning and her loved ones were blind;
she kept her tipple hidden.
Back on her bike at the end of each weekday,
she turned left at the gates, and from there
it was downhill all the way,
her slight frame edging woods that hid deep, flooded memories of tin mines.
Past the pub she’d fly,
her eyes skimming familiar places,
her mind skimming some secret blunted dream.
Beyond the sawmill she’d ride, beside the ditch along the side of the lane,
where she would sometimes wobble,
and fall in.
When she dripped home, we only saw the mud that clung to her clothes;
we didn’t guess she was immersed in the mire of addiction.
She hid her tipple well.
Written for The Daily Post #Immerse
©Jane Paterson Basil