Poet as Housewife

By Elisabeth Eybers Elisabeth Eybers

Translated from the Afrikaans by Jacquelyn Pope

Always a broom leaned against a wall,
meals never on time, if they come at all.

Days without dates through which she moves
empty and stubborn, slightly confused.

Ironing hung dejectedly over a chair,
gestures that come from who-knows-where.

Old letters unanswered, piled together,
papers and pills stuffed deep in a drawer.

Thankful to be part of your heart’s great whole
yet devoted to the limits of her own small skull.

O orderly biped, take heed,
leave her alone—let her read.

Source: Poetry (July/August 2009).


Elisabeth Eybers (1915–2007) was the first Afrikaans woman to publish a volume of poetry. The poem in this issue, “Digteres as huisvrou,” was published in Versamelde gedigte (Querido, 1990).

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SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets, Social Commentaries, Gender & Sexuality, Activities, Indoor Activities

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