CONTENTMENT

Be thankful for your work
Thank me that I make you work
Have you forgotten
or, in case you don’t know
‘work ennobles man’
So I learned from my Philosophy class.

Isn’t it true –
You feel you have achieved something
after polishing the floors
or pressing my clothes
or preparing my meals.
Don’t you?

Oh, how ungrateful you are.
You live free in my house
eat my food
now you want a raise
and some rest too?

Now, isn’t that being lazy
and….
unjust?
Fair work for fair pay, remember?

Don’t look at me like that
You hurt my feelings
after all I’ve done for you.

Seriously, don’t be too greedy
You know you will be rewarded in Heaven
Generously –
For all the work you’ve done
Contentment will bring you joy.

Me? Ah! Don’t worry about me
I am quite contented with my lot.

~~~~

I wrote this piece following the prompt from dVERSE Poets:  Just Say What You Don’t Mean:  Irony.   I excitedly read this to my husband thinking that he would laugh at its silliness.  To my surprise, however, he said “I think I should be insulted by that!”  Seeing my incredulous expression, he explained that the poem seem to be about a wife addressing her husband.  Uh-oh!  I certainly did not mean that.  In fact, that scenario never crossed my mind.   I had to assure him that the inspiration for this piece is a domestic helper – employer relationship which is quite common in the Philippines where I came from, and which is utterly foreign to my husband.  As I am writing this, he suggested that I write this little explanation just to make it clear to a non-Filipino audience that I am not talking about marriage, especially ours. 😉

Please drop by the pub – just click on the link – and enjoy the Irony that the others have to offer. 🙂  Better yet, serve up your own brand of Irony.  Thank you for coming by. 🙂

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17 comments

  1. there are employers that have this attitude..just be thankful…don’t you see what i’m doing for you…you will be rewarded in heaven…ha…makes me gnash my teeth and want to slap them..and depending on the economical situation so difficult for the person to quit and find something else.. well written

  2. I come from the Philippines too and maybe that’s why my first thought was that it was about a master and a maid. I wonder what my husband – who is also non-Filipino – would gather about this poem? Just like yours maybe? ….smiles….

    • Janice, thanks for dropping by. You know, it will be an interesting experiment to show this to somebody who knows nothing about the background. My husband says that people in these parts will almost certainly associate the poem with a husband and wife dynamics. 🙂

  3. Fantastic background explanation about your husband taking it personally. In India, I had much experience with these domestic helpers and the left-over British Raj attitudes toward them. I imagine it may be similar in the Philippines. And yet, your husband’s response is reasonable, for haven’t women house-keepers been treated the same for millennia?
    Nicely done, and thank you for the background info.

  4. You could be addressing this to a Cinderella or maid or any lowly servant ~ I am familiar with the treatment of domestic help, some are lucky to get good and kind bosses ~ Some, not so lucky specially if by another Asian or other countries with defined classes ~ Canadians here don’t understand this kind of maid mentality, but immigrants do, like myself.

  5. I can understand your husband….Mine would have thought the same…He thinks writers get inspiration from their own experiences., and as we do not have service…
    I remember once I wrote about a sad woman abused psychologically and fisically..He was scared people would think it was my own experience…It was hard to explain the inspiration had came from the news… 🙂

  6. ha. i am glad you explained…and in his defense, i was thinking the same as well…sadly it is all too common in teh way that women, or even housekeepers are treated…for me though, never one for privledge have never had a housekeeper in my life

  7. Wonderful irony and I have to laugh at your husband’s response. My mom, when I read her my first novel, thought the mother in the story was her…and that character was awful (at least at first). I had some explaining to do!

  8. Nicely done! I love the explanation part of this a lot! 🙂 I’m glad you have a wonderful husband – his comments made me smile too! 🙂

  9. I’ve got to be honest and say I saw a husband-and-wife relationship at first but, as I am the one without a job … Thankfully, my wife doesn’t treat me like this.

  10. I always worry about showing poems to people I know encase they take it personally! I feel quite meditative when doing chores myself, not that I do them nearly enough perhaps that’s why its a treat haha

  11. Think you inadvertently struck a chord here, as I too saw a not exactly ideal husband and wife situation here. Interesting how minds read the same words and can draw completely different scenes depending on life experiences. That is why I always wonder about literary critics who presume to be able to get into the author’s mind and know what they were thinking as they wrote. Difficult at best to do, at least accurately. Thanks for an interesting experience Imelda! 🙂

  12. Very interesting post raising awareness of culture gaps and practices. I knew it wasn’t a husband/wife thing, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it though it sounded familiar. After reading the explanation, it all made sense. I’m glad you cleared the air with your hubby! 🙂

  13. I didn’t read this as being about a spouse at all. I actually related it to a parent/child relationship (my ten-year-old is going through a terrible phase where he wants to do less and expects more of everything. I am not family with a domestic helper relationship, so I’m glad you took your husband’s advice and added the part at the end!

  14. Haha……..I also thought the same as your husband at first, probably because I’m just starting to do the Monday morning chores around the house. I did smile though. Many people here in South Africa have maids too, but I’m the maid in our house, and I get well rewarded. 😆

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