Poem – She Travels For Work

She travels for work, my daughter.

I had the email the other day:

‘on my way home, Mum.

Set up my room.’

Which means ‘clear away your paints,


I do not acknowledge that you call it

the spare room.

I do not acknowledge that you have grown,

or changed at all’.

Six months at home, six months away.

She heads south,

tends her kingdom there.

She doesn’t say much.

Doesn’t want to bother me,

she says.

As if I can’t see the worry lines,

how pale she becomes.

I suppose all women are queens in their own domain,

but revert to child again

in the family home.

She has a man there,

I know,

but I know nothing about him either.

Well, apart from the usual:

steady job, older than her,

has a dog apparently.

He can’t have kids.

There goes my fancies

of being a grandmother.

If he mourns her when she’s away,

she’s never said.

Towards the end of her six months here,

there’s a letter or two.

Fancy black and silver stationery.

She says to get over it,

not be sad when she’s gone.

I was crazy at first,

withdrew entirely from the world,


I’m fine now.

Sometimes, I dread her coming home.

Sure, things are more lively,

but who’s to say I want that

at my age?

She says I never want anything to change.

I smile to myself.

Oh Persephone, if only you knew

how much I love my spare room,

my new hobbies,

my life without you.

I see the daffodils are you.

You’ll be home soon,

and I must pack up my paints.

I was working on a nice winter scene, too.

Oh well.

It will keep for six months.


Thankyou to Setjataset for the ‘prompt’. She has just posted her own Persephone poem, and it got me thinking about how the daffodils and jonquils are starting to push up out of the earth, we are past the Winter Solstice, and thus, Persephone is coming back from her six months in Hades, with Hades.

Demeter often gets a bad rap in the Persephone story, being the wildly possessive and over-protective mother. I, too, have an adult daughter who I have launched into the world. She now lives interstate with her husband and three children. It got me thinking about how women change once their children are grown, and how hard it can be for those adult children to accept that the mum they left at home is not the woman who welcomes them; who now has a separate life.

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