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I Never Asked for An Oyster

by Maureen Glaude

At twenty-one
things were coming well to me
I'd lost weight with yoga
achieved my first promotion —
my summer job turning into first permanent one
at a higher level
I was continuing university part-time,
and soon to get married
when my boss
a kindly older man with seven children
smiled at me one day and said
“the world is your oyster”

I’d never heard the term before
it seemed mysterious
but the memory
of the expression stayed

At fifty-one
I’m still doing yoga
I work at home
developing in the arts
that hold out carrot sticks and bring me
large and small pats
on the back, but hard slaps too
my husband’s retiring
our children have matured brightly
into their twenties,
left town for years, then returned home
in one case the same house
and for the most part things are coming well
to them.

Most of my dearest friends have remained so
and a wealth of new ones stepped in.
I've had to struggle to let
some profoundly desired pearls slip away.

My mother has long-survived my dear father now
and lives close to me, but is more afflicted by ailments
my siblings are experiencing major health ordeals
I’ve had my own bouts too
we've lost a brother-in-law to cancer
and some are on second marriages.

Our trunks our strong and we wave our
branches close to each other for support

a good day’s never something to be
taken tongue-in-cheek
nor are good news, shared laughter,
camaraderie of colleagues
the peaceful sounds of morning birds
a gentle hand to count on holding ...
and when I deliberate
on the trials we have endured, and those to come,
or recite in silence the serenity prayer
to cope with the toughest ones,
I often wonder about that old phrase
my boss used, perhaps himself having seen
by then some of the other moments
I would have to face.

Although I thirsted for, offered and savoured
joy and love,
I never asked
for the world
to be my oyster, did I?

Or for pearls.


Author's Note: draft

Posted on 06/24/2005
Copyright © 2021 Maureen Glaude

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Christina Butcher on 06/25/05 at 08:22 AM

i that's a draft then everything i've ever done is just a brainstorm. nice work.

Posted by Chris Sorrenti on 06/27/05 at 06:16 PM

Worthy reminder that oysters...and their pearls come in many forms, and in the process of obtaining them, the ocean depths hold many uncertainties, challenges.

Posted by Glenn Currier on 06/28/05 at 03:23 AM

Your short narrative poem (I guess that would be a correct appelation) exudes serenity, acceptance, and love. You seem to have chosen to embrace life and love and eschew the oyster. Kudos to your choice. Besides, that particular oyster is a fantasy for most and a slippery, slimy thing for many. Thanks for the lovely and revealing storypoem, my friend.

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