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U3A Writing: Play it Again, Sam

Vera Sanderson's poem tells of the trials and tribulations of a working mother.

Turn back the clock. Oh turn back the clock
To still for all time its relentless tick-tock
To live in a world that was quiet and sane
To hold all my babes in my arms once again
To bathe them and hug them and put them to bed
And not have to work for the roof o'er their heads
To bake and to clean and to tend to their ill
To win their respect with my motherly skills.

Not earning a living - adopting a pose -
To be upwardly mobile and live 'a la mode'
And the price that I paid for their food and their clothes
Was the tears that I shed whilst out on the road
Buying and selling and flogging my brain
Day after day in the sun and the rain
Ankles like puddings all baked in the sun
Then staggaring home with more work to be done.

No wonder I could not be She Who Was Kind
When I'd housework and shopwork and cash on my mind.
Days started at seven and finished at one
And the suffix was 'a.m.' with more work to be done
Clothes pressed, nails varnished and powder the cracks,
Flash on those smiley teeth, no time to relax
And the glamour and glitter of five-star hotels
Where the battle was won when the meeting went well
Or the fear and despair when they sent you to hell
With the mortgage to pay and your wages to find
And your dear little children left far, far behind
And those sweet, trusting faces tormenting your mind.
Then suddenly, gone ...


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