'Self-reliance' by Sarah Rice | States of Poetry ACT - Series One

No one is going to come and save you.
And because of this you must fold
your clothes at day's end

despite the urge to abandon them
to the backs of chairs. You must shake
the crumple of sleep from the sheet.

You must clean your teeth. Wash the teaspoons.
Fold your pyjamas too and lay the neat squares
to rest under your pillow of a morning

despite the fact that in a few hours all
will be done again in reverse. All will be undone.
And there will be no-one to see.

No one will know the bed corners were tucked
into triangles. No one will see the sleeves cross
empty arms against flattened chests and wait quietly.

No one will know if the spoon was licked before it re-
entered the jam jar. And no one will call you to bed
and to the relief of sleep. That midnight hour must be

crossed alone.

The curtains drawn and redrawn, drawn and erased.
Be wary of sitting too long in a warm place, of holding
cups of tea for too long, or lying in bed thinking in the morning.

Be up and doing, up and at 'em. Be the bird
that gets the worm before it eats the apple.
Try to resist writing poetry.

 

 Sarah Rice