Tuesday, April 28, 2020


This is another poem I wrote back in the day.


Invisible kitchen spirit
stands stirring oatmeal
at 6 a.m.

No one sees her there
stirring, poaching, brewing,

No one says
thank you.

No one notices
the food does not appear
on the table before them
promptly at 6, 12, 5.

Invisible kitchen spirit
visible only
in your absence.

I wrote it in honour of my Nana, who was not appreciated by my grandfather. He was very patriarchal and at times, childish. He expected his breakfast to be ready when he got up, so Nana would get up very early to make his oatmeal, poached egg, and coffee--he had the same thing every morning. Then lunch had to be on the table at noon on the dot. Once, when I was staying with them, Nana was not home at noon. When we got home about an hour later, grandpa was having a snit. He yelled at Nana for not having been home to put his lunch on the table. She said she'd get it right then, but he said it was too late; he would skip lunch and it was her fault. The rest of us enjoyed our lunch without him.

Supper had to be on the table at 5 o'clock. Wednesday was pasta. So was Sunday, but the big meal was at noon on that day. Friday was fish. No deviations were acceptable.

He never appreciated all of the ways she took care of him. This always made me sad, partly because I always knew she deserved better and partly because I appreciated her. I am not sure I would be here now if not for her. As a small child, I was once asked to name the person I most admired. I named Nana. She had a huge influence on the person I became and I as I go through my day-to-day life, I am frequently reminded of the many ways her way of life rubbed off on me.


Vicki said...

I love this poem and I love your fond memories of your Nana. I don't remember either of my grandmothers because they both died when I was very young. Some men just don't know how good they have it or what life would be without their wife. That's so very sad!

Shari Burke said...

Thanks, Vicki! You're so right--it is VERY sad. It's so easy to take people for granted.

JFM/Jan said...

This is a lovely tribute to your Nana.
She sounded like a good and dutiful wife and a sweetheart to put up with your grandfather.
You honored her kindness and love beautifully.

Stay Safe 🌷

Brenda said...

Beautiful tribute.

Shari Burke said...

Thank you! I am grateful that I had her as a grandma! :-)