Emily Abstracted

by Larry Chamberlin   May 6, 2016

Emily inserts herself into life gently
and without disturbing the molecules
which surround her;
she slips into any room quietly
unnoticed and
absorbs all that she sees and hears.

She is never a bother;
her boss barely remembers hiring her.
For twenty years she has sat
in the same cubicle
manipulating the same papers
reluctantly learning how to use computers.

She has a keyboard which makes no sound
her speakers are always off;
she has foam soled shoes,
wears plain cotton dresses
that never rustle when she walks.

She rides the bus to and from work
but rarely pulls the stop-cord,
willing to walk an extra block
if no one else has done so.

She owns no dog nor cat
nor bird, but only goldfish,
one at a time.

She only eats salad
drinks naught but water.
She has no TV nor radio.

Yet stacked on her shelves
are volumes of journals -
her own journals -
which are filled with poetry
of the most unimaginable kind.

She pens the lives
of adventurous women,
female world leaders,
devoted wives, protective mothers,
and captains of industry.

She writes in every form
known to literature:
odes, sonnets, senryu, etherees,
gloss versae and sintuits
but never a haiku.

She does not write haiku
because in every poem
she is at the center:
riding the tornado
leading courageous brigades
firing incompetent underlings
promising to bring a new age to the electorate.

Each night, she will write for hours;
when she is finished
she quietly showers
discreetly goes to bed
spends the night
in dreamless sleep
and in the morning
you could hardly tell
she had lain between the sheets.


Did You Like This Poem?

Latest Comments

  • 4 years ago

    by C Cattaway

    Only just found this. I was drawn to it by the title, of my daughter's name. What a beautifully unassuming piece. Glad I read it ;-) x

  • 6 years ago

    by Meena Krish

    Congrats on the Win!!

  • 6 years ago

    by Hellon

    Glad this won...otherwise I may have missed it because I've been "Jamesinaing" once again :) I wonder about the Emily thingy because when I read it my first thoughts were Eleanor as in Eleanor Rigby, it just so reminded me of this very sad person that The Beatles portrayed many years ago. So glad it was a winner and therefore was highlighted for me to find...Congrats on your win...very well deserved...

    • 6 years ago

      by Larry Chamberlin

      Thanks, Hellon.
      I passed a young woman in the hall who was closing her office door slowly & quietly. When she saw me she softly said "I'm sorry" for no apparent reason. Then she left hardly leaving an impression. I went back to my office and wrote the poem. Later, I posted it without a single edit. Even then the only change I made was to name her after I read it online.

  • 6 years ago

    by Fan Angeleo

    She has a keyboard which makes no sound
    her speakers are always off;
    she has foam soled shoes,
    wears plain cotton dresses
    that never rustle when she walks.

    This captured me.

  • 6 years ago

    by silvershoes

    I pictured Emily Bronte. Exquisite poem. You created an entire human being, interesting and complex in all her simplicity.

    • 6 years ago

      by Larry Chamberlin

      I actually wrote the poem and then went back when I realized her name had to be Emily.

      Thank you!