Stark raving mad

I tried to write poetry
but the phone rang
and I had to take
the kids to school.
One refused to go.
One refused to wear shoes.

I tried to write poetry
but the lunches…
there was a dispute sprouting wings
about peanut butter
and schoolyard catastrophes
and who was getting
the last pack of
salt and vinegar chips.

I tried to write poetry
but there was a quandary
of homework books, hats
and library bags to slog through.
It’s sports day and I’ve
forgotten to wash the shirts.
I laboured under a barrage of
conspiracy theories.

I tried to write poetry
but the rabbit went MIA
and the tears were gargantuan.
There were running away
of rabbit-napping
and a neighbour’s dog’s breakfast.

I tried to write poetry
but The Teenager is having
a hissy-fit about…well, life.
To tell you the truth
today I am with her on that one.
(there is no safe close-range-access
to confide this though).

I tried to write poetry
but we found the rabbit eating soap
in the shower
and The Teenager spreading
her cantankerous diagnosis of life
to her younger siblings.

I tried to write poetry
but I’m driving my darlings
to school on an appetite of
suppressed phrases.
The little ones fight to kiss
me, to launch the missile of guilt.
The Teenager leaves with an
abbreviated gesture of something
resembling acknowledgement
(but I can’t be sure)
and a huge back-pack
of self-pity.

I tried to write poetry today.


© Mardi Sheridan

“A gender-equal society would be one where the word ‘gender’ does not exist: where everyone can be themselves.”*

I’ve always been aware of gender conditioning and actively tried to combat any lingering prejudices or stereotypes in my own parenting, even down to encouraging dolls with my boys when they were little. It’s great to read people writing about gender issues they’re experiencing with their kids. For too long these subjects have been discouraged or silenced. I’d love to publish some more creative writing on this topic, especially if you are struggling with a child who actively tries to move away from gender normative preferences. A society where everyone can be themselves thanks Gloria for those aspirational words.

Share your thoughts

* Gloria Steinem