Classic and Contemporary Poetry
MOTHER WONDER, by FLORA SHUFELT RIVOLA
First Line: I have washed their clothes and their faces
Last Line: I wonder!
Subject(s): Children; Good; Hearts; Mothers; Parents; Childhood; Parenthood
I have washed their clothes and their faces
And their lithe, round limbs
And sent them off to school.
I wonder if I have washed their hearts clean?
All the heart-cleaning water I had
Was rained into a black-lined barrel
Burned out through the ages,
I being a drop-saver like my forbears.
And the soapit may have been made of fat too old
And lye too keen biting;
The linen rag my great-great-grandmother wove
From flax she raised on fresh-broken ground.
I tried to wash their hearts clean with these.
They looked cleanwhat I could see of them
Shining from their happy eyes,
I looking with my dimmed, mother-proud ones
Half-full of tears.
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