My Only Praise
And here I sit and think about the days
when satisfaction was my only praise.
To know I did my work, and did my best,
sufficient was to grant a night of rest.
I did not need to hear the laud of men
or see my name emblazoned way back then.
It was enough to know the job was done,
regardless if a trophy had been won.
But I was young, and still had much to learn
about the ways in which life takes a turn.
I saw that others thrived upon esteem;
and to procure it, what they would not scheme.
I saw them pulling others down to rise
to greater heights, as if to touch the skies.
I saw that I would soon be left behind
if soon I did not change my ways and mind.
And so I studied those who knew success,
determined to rise up and them impress.
I traded Humble Pie for caked-on pride
although I knew it wrong, deep down inside.
Instead of praising others, I began
to lift myself up in the eyes of man.
Before, with joy I labored in the shade,
but now I sought the light, in gold arrayed.
I wanted all to see my grand success,
while at the same time hide my inner mess.
My closet space was desperately deplete,
so, grabbing card, I gave myself a treat.
Unused to shopping for an outfit grand,
I asked a new-found friend to lend a hand.
A whole new wardrobe, with new shoes to match—
How could I know then there would be a catch?
How could I know how empty I would feel
when learning my reality’s not real?
I had to change another way of mine:
replace the dinner tea with glass of wine.
A little wine imbibed for stomach’s sake
will surely not a drunkard of me make.
But I was new to drinking alcohol:
while most were fine, I fell against the wall.
My tolerance improved with each new drink;
I did not think it wrong—I did not think.
My schedule also met with drastic change;
priorities now had to rearrange.
My family learned how to do without
because I, more and more, was going out.
My kids were old enough to cook their meals,
and hubby intervened in their ordeals.
They long ago outgrew the goodnight kiss,
so with me gone, would they have aught to miss?
But this new life of fame came at a price:
I had to wink at evil, nod at vice.
These so-called friends that I had newly made
were only friendly when the bill I paid.
The men, I quickly learned, desired much more:
their groping hands were hungry to explore.
I’d bit off so much more than I could chew,
and all because I wanted something new.
Back home, I asked my husband to forgive
and give me one more chance with him to live.
My children did no sin to me impute,
and blessed me with a goodnight kiss to boot!
So glad was I to be back home again!
We prayed, and closed it with a loud Amen!
The Humble Pie is tasting mighty good,
for now I’m doing what I know I should.
Again I sit and think about my days,
for satisfaction is my only praise.
To know I’ve done my work, and done my best,
sufficient is to grant a night of rest.
I do not need to hear the praise of men
or see my name emblazoned with a pen.
It is enough to know the job is done,
regardless if a trophy has been won.
From time to time a youngling will inquire
because in me she sees aught to admire.
She’ll ask me to upon her soul impress
the secret of magnanimous success.
And every time I give the same advice:
“Do right, and you will need not do it twice.
If you and God are pleased with what you do,
most others will be happy with you too.”
Copyright © 2021 Abigail Gronway – All Rights Reserved
Welcome to my series, Incremental Poetry, where each week the featured poem will be one line longer than the one I share the week before. I have no idea how long I’ll keep this up, so we’ll just have to wait and see. Thank you for stopping by.
(or in this case, 41 Heroic Couplets)
A heroic couplet is a closed two-line rhymed stanza written in iambic pentameter. It can appear alone as a 2-line verse, or be combined with other lines to form a longer stanza.
A closed couplet is one that can stand alone. In other words, the thought (and the sentence) is complete all by itself.
Please note: This poem is not biographical or autobiographical; it’s just a poem, a string of thoughts that hopefully make sense to someone other than the writer. Also note that I do not wish to offend anyone who drinks wine with their dinner. I firmly believe in “All things in moderation.”
2 Replies to “Incremental Poetry ~ 82 Lines”
This is fantastic! You’re really good at telling a complete story in verse. I like the line, “I traded Humble Pie for caked-on pride.” Very clever. 🙂
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Thank you, Jenna. I find these longer verses are easier to write (and read) when they tell a story.
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