I Remember Mama by Sarah Henderson Hay

The trouble is, I never felt secure.
There we were, crammed into that wretched shoe,
Ragged and cold and miserably poor,
And Mama never knowing what to do.
Most of the time we lived on watery stew,
She couldn’t even bake a loaf of bread,
And every night she’d thrash us black and blue
And send the snivelling lot of us to bed.

I used to lie awake for hours, and plan
The things I’d do, when I became a man…
And this is why I lurk in darkened hallways,
And prowl dim streets and lonely parks, and always
Carry a knife, in case I meet another
Old woman who reminds me of my mother.

From: Hay, Sarah Henderson, Story Hour, 1998, University of Arkansas Press: Fayetteville, p. 7.

Date: 1963

By: Sarah Henderson Hay (1906-1987)

2 Comments to “I Remember Mama by Sarah Henderson Hay”

  1. I have the book “Story Hour” in which this chilling little piece appears. Each poem in the book is a sonnet in which Hay gives her slightly subverted take on a fairy tale or nursery rhyme. The one which often appears in anthologies is “The Builders” based on the Three Little Pigs.
    I told them a thousand times, if I told them once;
    “Stop fooling around,” I said, “with straw and sticks”…

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