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.