Joshua Sutherland Allen

Joshua Sutherland Allen

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


When I was young, as best I can recall,
One day I said that I was bored, words sprung
From youthful haste and foolishness outpoured,
And said to she whose laboring love and work
Kept food upon our table, laundry clean
Within our drawers; kept grimy, moldy stains
From laying claim to all our tubs and toilets.
I’m sure I spoke my artless, silly thoughts
Just as my mother was unloading dishes
From dishwasher, or laundry from the dryer.
She looked at me with fed-up eyes and said,
“If you are bored, it means that you are boring.”

From that day on I’ve considered these words
When boredom or ennui has made me yawn
And slowly shut my eyes, with sleep made dewy,
Or when I’ve made lamenting, mournful cries
About how there is nothing here to do.
My mother’s scolding voice sounds in my head,
Reminding me that toil is never past,
Always there’s work to do, both in the home,
Where bathtubs need a scrubbing, laundry folding,
And in the world, where children are abused,
And homelessness and poverty abound.

And yet I have not adequately learned
The lesson she once strove for me to learn.
No, I have never, ever erred again,
By telling someone working that I’m bored,
But I have often simply given in
And let the boredom win, and laid my head
Upon my hands, or on some paper scrap
Discarded on my desk, and had a nap.
I guess that she was right, those years ago,
When I am bored indeed I am just boring.
But I am happy so to be, my boredom
Consumed by snoring and by somnolence.
And then in restful, sleeping, vivid dreams,
I do the things my boring self won’t do,
Or rather, maybe, will not think to do 
When my body’s boringly awake.


  1. I think most kids say this some time in their lives. It is not boredom so much as the need for attention. Curiously when younger I had so little to amuse me compared with kids of today but we were much more inventive then...except when it rained!

  2. I love that quote...and you have mused upon it wonderfully...and I agree sometimes to be boring means that you are at peace with who you are..

  3. Love the closing lines... often in dreams we are able to embark upon such adventures which one would not in real life. Beautifully penned :D

  4. I think it's true - boring becaus of getting bored. boredom is difficult to have a specific definition i guess

  5. LOVE! Especially:
    "No, I have never, ever erred again,
    By telling someone working that I’m bored,
    But I have often simply given in
    And let the boredom win,"
    My mom is always working too--at 91!
    And the last stanza. AS writers we need the down time and the drifting. Is that truly boredom!?

  6. it's not always bad to give in and let boredom may have a bit of restful moments then...but i totally agree with the quote :)

  7. How I enjoyed this poem! I can so relate to your mom as I have spent just such a week, where the laundry and the work never ended and the kids were bored. LOL. I love the second stanza, too, where you took advantage of the time to take a nap and dream things your awake self would not do.

  8. Well, this is very interesting. I do think it may be true that if one feels bored one must be boring. I feel that way if I am (momentarily) feeling bored. I feel that others would look upon me in the same way!

  9. Hope that you will make some visits this week.. Thanks.

  10. Beautiful idea that the sleep of the bored is more interesting than the life of the same awake.

  11. We learn so much from our Moms (and Grandmothers). Love the questions you pose.