Ann Gilligan Bond




In the Small Yard


Her high-terraced house was her whole world.

Letting in the morning air, she lingered by the window,

watching her children play in the small yard.

 

She liked to see them hang upside down

on the branches of the great white pine.

Letting in the morning air, she lingered by the window.

 

When she washed her children for bed,

she could hear the robins singing

on the branches of the great white pine.

 

It was still daylight when she tucked them in,

the cotton sheets just down from the line.

She could hear the robins singing.

 

She looked deep into their faces

with their features of immeasurable beauty,

the cotton sheets just down from the line.


At times, when she was overwhelmed with work,

she kept before her mind the faces of her children

with their features of immeasurable beauty.

 

Though she often worked herself into a sweat,

she did not lose herself in the tumult of chores.

She kept before her mind the faces of her children.

 

Down on her knees on the hard floor,

swashing ammonia and water into every corner,

she did not lose herself in the tumult of chores.

 

Though at times when she was alone in the house,

she must have known hours of isolation,

swashing ammonia and water into every corner.

 

With her husband coming home late and

with no one else to talk to,

she must have known hours of isolation.

 

Yet coming from the cellar, she exulted in the light

in the bright, blooming backyard,

with no one else to talk to.

 

Pinning up the wet wash, she was fascinated

with the sunlight flicking on and off

in the bright, blooming backyard.

 

Another time, she turned her chair to face the roses,

drinking her cup of coffee out back,

with the sunlight flicking on and off.

 

She gloried in the total effect of their color,

remembering roses were her mother's favorite flower,

drinking her cup of coffee out back.

 

She snipped their stems and held them by their ends,

careful to notice where the thorns were,

remembering roses were her mother's favorite flower.

 

And she arranged the blooms in an aqua bowl,

painting the flowers with quick, deft strokes,

careful to notice where the thorns were.

 

She worked late into the afternoon,

when it was time for her to think about the supper,

painting the flowers with quick, deft strokes.

 

Years later, my mother had my father hang the oil

inspired by the roses that grew against the garage,

when it was time for her to think about the supper.

 

The painted flowers brought her back to a time when

she used to sit at the kitchen window,

inspired by the roses that grew against the garage.

 

As a mother with young children,

her high-terraced house was her whole world.

She used to sit at the kitchen window,

watching her children play in the small yard.




Ann Gilligan Bond has always enjoyed writing poems, particularly using forms such as the pantoum, the sestina, and the terzanelle. After ten years of work, she recently completed a novel set in Ireland, Sighting at Tinnacurragh, which includes three poems. Much of her life has been spent doing artwork, especially watercolor landscapes. For the last sixteen years she has played the violin with the Waltham Philharmonic Orchestra. She has a Master's degree in English and has taught high school English and art.










                                    

 

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