April 12, 2016

Monday, April 23, 2012

30 Habits of Highly Effective Poets #23: Kathy Figueroa on Chores

Kathy Figueroa is one of the many wonderful poets I've met through the 100,000 Poets for Change initiative. She lives in Ontario, Canada.

Kathy has a series of poems about chores. What a great way to turn housework into a source of joy -- by writing about it. It's a new angle on whistle while you work. (For another poet on this subject, check out Julia Alvarez.)

I have been working on simple odes with some fifth graders this week. They love the idea that a few juicy similes and hyperbole can make something as ordinary as masking tape sound amazing! (I even made on-the-spot masking tape art to prove the point.) It's the power of tone. Of course, we talked about Pablo Neruda's Odes to Common Things -- a category which Kathy's poem falls into.

Here is Kathy:

I wrote, 'Ode To Housework,' in practically no time at all because I felt tremendously inspired to sit down and write instead of getting directly to work tidying up the house. (I will say that my yard looks very nice, though.)

Ode To Housework
~by Kathy Figueroa

It's time to clean
This house
Though I'm allergic
To dust
Someone will
Be over soon
So tidying
Is a must
Let me think
Of this drudgery
As something
That's actually fun
Otherwise, it's going
To be awhile
Before I get this
Housework done
Let me delight in
Washing the floor
Instead of thinking
It's such a chore
The cat boxes
Will be fun to change
I'll whistle a tune
As I rearrange
The laundry will go
In the washing machine
The plants
Will be watered
So they stay green
Scrubbing the sink
Won't take as
Long as I think
And then, after I do
I'll polish the loo
Cobwebs can be swept
Away with a broom
Then I'll vacuum
The living room
(Note to myself:
Remember to take care
And make sure I get
All the dog and cat hair)
Yes, I guess
My house is a mess
I could do more
And procrastinate less
Then, in no time
This house
Would be clean
And I'd be
The happiest
Person you've seen

('Ode To Housework,' was first published in The Bancroft Times newspaper on January 5, 2012.)

The Bancroft Times included this illustration "originally made from engravings created, in large part, by renowned artisans, Thomas and John Bewick, date from prior to 1784!"

You can read more of Kathy's work -- including several more from her "housework" series, at her Facebook page.

You can also find clips of Kathy reading her work on YouTube.


Poem of the Week - Lisa Vihos said...

What a fun poem, Kathy. This is certainly the only way to view housework! Something fun! I can't wait until the next time I get to clean my house thanks to your poem!

Kathy Figueroa said...

Thank you for the compliment, Lisa! The prospect of becoming inspired to write a poem certainly makes doing work that's sometimes considered 'drudgery' a lot more attractive.

Author Amok said...

My most dreaded chore is the unending pile of laundry. I'll have to think about a poem on the topic. Here is a link to Julia Alvarez's poem "Dusting":

Guernsey Poets said...

Kathy, well done it is good to see your work being picked up by the blogging community. I always enjoy reading it.
For other readers of Author Amok you are invited to read more of Kathy’s work, and the work of other poets on the Guernsey Poets Blog which publishes the work of poets based on the beautiful Island of Guernsey in the British Channel Islands.

John Buchanan said...

Kathy, I enyoyed this poem very much, thanks for sharing it with us.

Author Amok said...

Thanks for the link to Guernsey Poets. I'd love to hear more about the Island of Guernsey!

Kathy Figueroa said...

John, I'm glad you liked it! Thank you for the kind words.

Kathy Figueroa said...

Just thought I'd mention that, earlier today, I created a blog for my poetry and photography. It's called, 'Flowertopia,' because that's what I call my gardens. Here's a link to it:

Author Amok said...

Thanks for the link, Kathy. My daughter takes a lot of photos of our garden and I occasionally write response poems. I will check out your new blog.