10 Oct
Spider web in branches

“Is that a spider’s trapeze swaying from the ceiling?” (Photo by Violet Nesdoly)


Women’s work is never done…
The burner rings are caked with overflow.
Is there anything to eat?
Mom, there are no clean socks.

The burner rings are caked with overflow.
Is that a spider’s trapeze swaying from the ceiling?
Mom, there are no clean socks, and
We’re running out of milk.

Is that a spider’s trapeze swaying from the ceiling?
Please drive me to the mall, you said
We’re running out of milk.
I fell. It’s bleeding!

Please drive me to the mall. Oh no,
You forgot to load the dishwasher.
I fell. It’s bleeding!
Does this fridge smell?

Who forgot to run the dishwasher?
I think I paid that bill.
This fridge does smell.
I’d swear there’s something sticky on the floor.

I know I paid that bill.
Vacuum and dust, Company’s coming!
Mop up that something sticky on the floor.
These library books are due.

Vacuum and dust! Company’s coming –
Is there anything to eat?
These library books are overdue …
Women’s work is never done!

© Violet Nesdoly


I see that today our Poetry Friday hostess is sharing a pantoum she wrote as part of a seven-pantoum challenge! What fun.

I love pantoums. That’s the form of the poem, above. The first one I ever read was “Julian at Ten” by Nelson Bentley. It was in the book Writing Personal Poetry (by Sheila Bender), and I was mesmerized. How did he do that—get that back-and-forth, swaying, sashaying sensation with words?

I tried my hand at writing one soon after. “Complaint” is probably the second one I wrote, written  some years ago now. I think I was already out of the thick of those mother-always-on-call years but they were still fresh in my mind.

Poetry Friday LogoThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Laura Purdie Salas at Writing the world for kids.


Posted by on October 10, 2013 in Light, Pantoum, Poetry Friday


Tags: , , , , ,

18 responses to “Complaint

  1. Catherine Johnson

    October 10, 2013 at 11:33 pm

    Fantastic, Violet! This is reminiscent of Pam Ayres. And a reminder of my overdue dvd;)


  2. jama

    October 11, 2013 at 4:54 am

    You captured all that is hectic and demanding and neverending about a mother’s daily life. Wonderful poem — you used the pantoum form to good effect. 🙂


  3. Joy acey

    October 11, 2013 at 4:56 am

    Violet, I love your poem and the picture. Pantoums require the. Right subject and you’ve certainly captured it in your poem. I admire your writing. Thank you for sharing you r work.


  4. Liz Steinglass

    October 11, 2013 at 5:21 am

    Absolutely perfect! I could swear I’ve heard every one of those complaints in the last week. It’s the no socks that always gets to me.


  5. c van gorkom

    October 11, 2013 at 7:01 am

    excellent poem!! Without women doing their part, this would truly be a sorry old world!


  6. Linda Baie

    October 11, 2013 at 7:41 am

    The capturing of the moments and the franticness is so right, Violet. I love pantoums too and my students loved trying them out, loving a structure to play with.


  7. Buffy Silverman

    October 11, 2013 at 10:21 am

    The form and voice of your poem capture the never-ending, frenetic times we share with our children. Thanks for posting this!


  8. tadmack

    October 11, 2013 at 10:26 am

    Hey, another pantoum!
    It’s a hard form for me, but I love that it goes back and forth, the push-pull of the words giving it a slightly fretting feel. It works well for the topic!


  9. kiwiskan

    October 11, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Great pantoum, and neat photo


  10. mattforrest

    October 11, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    The form perfectly lends itself to the repetition of kids’ voices and work, work, work – well done, Violet!


  11. greenlightlady

    October 11, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    I’m living this poem right now! 🙂 Thank you for making me smile.

    Blessings ~ Wendy


  12. Violet Nesdoly

    October 11, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    Thank you so much, all! I agree with Joy that not every subject lends itself to a pantoum. I’ve heard it described as the poetry of obsession, and motherhood has its moments of obsession, not to speak of repetition. I’ve sure enjoyed the pantoums of the other six Laura Salas mentioned.


  13. Mary Lee Hahn

    October 12, 2013 at 4:05 am

    How fun to find a bonus pantoum here! Yours makes me tired!! The constant work of motherhood is perfectly paired with the constant work of spiders!! (LOVE the photo!!)


  14. Laura Purdie Salas

    October 12, 2013 at 5:19 am

    Oh, this is wonderful! It brings back such memories of when my kids were littler, though something the housework and minutiae of life haven’t diminished at all even without them wanting to be driven somewhere! I love the spider’s trapeze (awesome photo). How fun to find another pantoum in my PF wanderings:>)


  15. Becky Shillington

    October 12, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    This poem is perfect, Violet–it truly captures all that we women/mothers/wives/etc. have to DO each day. Thanks so much for sharing! = )


  16. Donna Smith

    October 12, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    Love pantoums! Love spider webs with morning dew! Love that I am not a part of that pantoum’s life now…ah, retirement! Nice to reminisce on those days, sitting back and watching all that activity!


  17. Keri Collins Lewis

    October 13, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    I agree with everyone else that this is a perfect match of form and theme. I’ve never had my own kids, but kept four under age 8 this weekend and thought the laundry would never end. Hat’s off to mothers everywhere!


  18. haitiruth

    October 16, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    This is great!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: