Woman work – Maya Angelou

I’ve got the children to tend

The clothes to mend

The floor to mop

The food to shop

Then the chicken to fry

The baby to dry

I got company to feed

The garden to weed

I’ve got shirts to press

The tots to dress

The can to be cut

I gotta clean up this hut

Then see about the sick

And the cotton to pick.

Shine on me, sunshine

Rain on me, rain

Fall softly, dewdrops

And cool my brow again.

Storm, blow me from here

With your fiercest wind

Let me float across the sky

‘Til I can rest again.

Fall gently, snowflakes

Cover me with white

Cold icy kisses and

Let me rest tonight.

Sun, rain, curving sky

Mountain, oceans, leaf and stone

Star shine, moon glow

You’re all that I can call my own.

Response- From this poem I can see the writer maya angelou had a tough life this poem is based off her personal experience as all of her other poems are, she speaks about her tasks she must pursue everyday not only the jobs at home but outside picking cotton to create cloth to sell for money and the list goes on. When she speaks of “And cool my brow again” shows us how much hard work and sweat must go into her daily life if she is asking the rain to cool her and the sun to keep her warm, it’s clear she puts in a lot of work she must be a tough lady looking after the sick around her and her children with no father to care for them. She is strong the sickness and loneliness and the other tragic things that happened in her lifetime caused her pain which produced mental strength and wisdom to pass on to her kin potentially and teaching them what hard work looks like, I personally believe when the kids are older they will learn to appreciate everything their mother did for them to keep them warm fed and healthy and they will learn to do this for their own kids and so on.

I can relate to this poem personally and through the part of Maya Angelou Through being alone not fully alone but alone in doing the jobs, to keep people healthy and happy the role of an adult doing all the “jobs” through the quote “The clothes to mend, The floor to mop, The food to shop, Then the chicken to fry, The baby to dry” I can see how the words and things that seem so simple are a lot bigger than we might think like the jobs how cooking food could be an easy task but when all the jobs add up and are constantly done day after day after day we can become tired and exhausted, i relate to this i basically take on the role of a mother having only one parent who is sick and unable to do daily duties with a brother i must look after and my dog, become a cycle of exhaustance sometimes i do wish to “Let me float across the sky ‘Til I can rest again.” a break from the cycle to allow me the rest i need but do not get, i think this whole poem i can relate to. It also seems as a way of catharsis in a way a description of one woman’s tough daily life.

The quote “I gotta clean up this hut, Then see about the sick” I also relate to as I tend to the sick every day it’s hard i must admit being so young and having to be a caregiver to an adult and a child is hard i couldn’t imagine what it must have been like for Maya Angelou having to pick cotton to sell to get money for her family’s needs i’m lucky to not have to do this as the government gives people who are sick the “sickness benefit” but it makes me feel lucky i have it easier than Maya did i feel for her, her life must have been very tough i admire her courage, commitment and strength.

The last quote “You’re all that I can call my own.” I believe that Maya was happy doing all this for the people she cared for they where her people she did all of the hard work for them. They are her family, they are her people, they are her loved ones, they are her own i think the final part of the poem is just beautiful the way she used all the negative or not so nice repetitive things she must complete at the end of a day she turns the whole thing around basically saying shes grateful and happy after all she does because she has her children and other that she calls her own. I believe i can also relate to this because i find the beauty out of everything that is happening everyday although it’s a negative there can still be a positive in the end because after all i do i have the amazing people in my life that are grateful towards everything that i do for them and i can happily call them my own. As Maya Angelou has done i truly feel proud of a person i never personally knew i have a lot of respect towards Maya and her poetry.

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. Hi Shawna, just logging with you that we spoke on the phone today and that I have posted your Response 6 for you, which you sent to me via Google Doc on 31 August because you couldn’t post this yourself on your blog. Sorry that I forgot you had e-mailed me about this! 🙂


Respond now!